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Bust of a Doctor

November 28, 2013–June 15, 2014
The Wolfsonian–FIU @ 1001 Washington Avenue

Bust of a Doctor was an installation by contemporary artist Gideon Barnett presented in The Wolfsonian’s 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 museum on Washington Avenue. The work engaged 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 belonged 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 perfect stage for this project, the Bridge Tender House 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 served as witness to this ageless pursuit of mechanical perfection.

Bust of a Doctor was supported by 3D Printing by LGM.