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In their interview with Time Out New York, Gilbert & George mention a 1971 incident, which involved an art magazine censoring their works because they contained the words “cunt” and “shit.” That, however, was just the start of their career. Over the next several decades, they pushed the envelope of outrage with large-scale photographic pieces that featured their own nude selves along with scatological images of flying feces and references to blood and urine. Abject art with a generous helping of British cheekiness (in more ways than one), the work is designed to “bring out the bigot from inside the liberal and conversely to bring out the liberal from inside the bigot,” as Gilbert & George put it. With the current MoMA survey of their early work in mind, we’ve assembled this curated look at their mid-career walk on the wild side.
“Gilbert & George: The Early Years” is at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) through Sept 27.