Bust of a Doctor

November 28 2013 - May 18 2014
Bridge Tender House at The Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL

Bust of a Doctor, a new installation by artist Gideon Barnett, is on view in The Wolfsonian’s Bridge Tender House from November 28, 2013 through May 18, 2014. The work engages a recent frontier in the narrative of human and machine cohabitation—genetic enhancement—as exemplified by pseudo-medical celebrity Anthony Bosch. The former director of South Florida’s Biogenesis clinic became a person of interest for his role in the doping scandals that have rattled Major League Baseball and its most prominent personalities. Barnett extracted images of Bosch from the Internet as source material for Bust of a Doctor, which he then modeled into a portrait for fabrication by a 3D printer. The resulting effigy belongs to a lineage of sculptural likenesses bearing such names as Wounded Warrior and Young Athlete—revered artifacts that, though committed to marble over a millennium ago, often appear no different than the many anonymous faces encountered in passing each day. 

The Bridge Tender House—a 1939 stainless-steel Art Deco structure originally situated at Miami’s 27th Avenue Bridge and now an unmistakable presence in front of The Wolfsonian on Washington Avenue—represents an intermediary moment between the idealized proportions of classical statuary and Bosch’s involvement in biological augmentation. The tender who operates a massive motorized apparatus is analogous to the figure of medical enabler who manipulates chemistry for enhanced athletic performance. Bust of a Doctor serves as witness to this ageless pursuit of mechanical perfection.

Gideon Barnett was born in 1982 in Jasper, Tennessee. In 2011 he received an M.F.A. from Yale University where he was awarded the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship. In 2008 he was the subject of a solo exhibition in the Passage Pommeraye in Nantes, France as a part of Quinzaine Photographique Nantaise. In addition to his installation at The Wolfsonian, in 2013 he exhibited at Garis & Hahn in NYC, the Miami Art Museum, and the Museum of Art | Ft. Lauderdale. He received a South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists in 2013. He lives and works in Miami, Florida. For more information about Barnett’s work, see the artist’s website: www.gideonbarnett.com.

Support for this project includes 3D Printing by LGM.

Bust of a Doctor