Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Gilbert and George (Gilbert Proesch, British, b. Italy, 1943; George Passmore, British, b. 1942)

Winter Pissing, 1983

Gelatin silver and chromogenic development prints

95 x 79 in. (242 x 201 cm)

Gift of Anne and William J. Hokin

In Winter Pissing, a grid of individually framed panels forms a sort of picture window through which the outside world is seen, an effect heightened by a soft-focus foreground of water droplets on what we assume to be a pane of glass. Superimposed over this visual plane is the rather startling imagery of urinating penises.

The works of the British art duo Gilbert and George are polemical in that they espouse their passionate belief in their life as a total work of art. Since life includes activities such as sex and excretory functions, the artists openly treat subject matter that in other hands might be considered lewd. Within Gilbert and George’s iconography these matters are simply part of life, everyone’s life, which they—as the everyman—feel they must address.