Forrest Bess, Seeing Things Invisible, With an Installation by Robert Gober, Folded Card, The Menil Collection, 2013

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Abridged from Wikipedia: In correspondence with art professor and author Meyer Schapiro and sexologist John Money, Bess makes it clear that his paintings were only part of a grander theory, based on alchemy, the philosophy of Carl Jung, and the rituals of Australian aborigines, which proposed that becoming a hermaphrodite was the key to immortality… The events of the night in 1955 or the “late 1950s” on which Forrest Bess became a pseudo-hermaphrodite are not clear.

His wish to present his paintings and theories side-by-side was realized only posthumously. In 2012 artist Robert Gober organized a selection of Bess’s output as his contribution to the Whitney Biennial. While the latter’s treatise is lost, Gober presented several pages from it preserved in the archive of art historian Meyer Schapiro as well as documentation of the experimental surgeries Bess performed on himself to achieve a hermaphroditic state. – National Gallery of Art

Size: 8 x 5.5 inches



Forest Bess Menil Collection Robert Gober