Artists Gilbert and George "get away with it" again

Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:13am EST
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By Douglas MacLaurin

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Telephone kiosks, tourist postcards, advertisements for prostitution and the urethra are the subjects of the latest art exhibition from British art duo Gilbert and George.

"The Urethra Art of Gilbert and George", on show at London's White Cube gallery, features a collection of prints made from telephone booth sex cards promising a "medical and fantasy specialist" and "two-way corrective massage that bloody hurts", alongside tourist postcards of Big Ben and bulldogs wearing Union flags, arranged to form a stylised image of a urethra.

The immaculately dressed Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore who live, work and have breakfast, lunch and dinner together every day in the same cafe and restaurants near their east London home, are among Britain's best known artists.

The two, who often speak in tandem, told Reuters that their conservative views, polite behavior and meticulously well-groomed appearance allowed them to explore subversive subject matter without offending.

"It's quite interesting because a young lady friend of ours took her mother to the Tate Modern exhibition with the plan to shock her and horrify her and the mother came away and said: 'Well I'm not sure about all of the pictures but they do dress so very nicely.'

"So you see by dressing nicely you can get away with things," explained Passmore.

"And that's what we do. Get away with it," added Proesch.