The Birthday Boy is a two-screen projection of lectures presented by art historians one male, one female on the topic of Michaelangelos David. In response to the critical commentary of each narrator, "Davids" appearance on each screen changes accordingly. Simultaneously extremely funny and acerbic, the videos examine the complex and gendered relationship between a work of art and critical commentary.
Morris created The Birthday Boy for the Galleria dell' Accademia in Florence for Davids 500-year anniversary in 2004. It was subsequently shown at the Louvre in 2007. The piece expands on the kinds of theoretical concerns Morris commonly addresses in his artwork the nature of perception, concepts of materiality, use of space and the process of artmaking. It also extends his work with notions of replication, photo-montage and lip-synching since the early 1960s.
Robert Morris was born in 1931 and is one of the most influential artists of the 20th Century. A pioneer of minimalist sculpture, process art and earthworks, Morris has also produced dance and performance pieces, prints, paintings, drawings, videos, films and installations, and worked with such diverse materials as plywood, felt, dirt, aluminum, mirrors, steel mesh, fibreglass, and encaustic. Currently he divides his time between teaching at Hunter College, New York and making art in his upstate New York studio.