Cock, 1977, is one of 26 works from Gilbert & George's notorious Dirty Words Picturesseries, which aggressively juxtaposed obscene words found in street graffiti with disconcerting images of urban unrest and inequity, and bleak images of the artists themselves. These challenging pictures, directly concerned with the social and political turmoil of Britain in the late 1970s, as well as shifting views on sexuality, present the viewer with a multitude of questions, framed in stark black, white and often red, most effectively: What is more outrageous and shocking - social inequality or obscenities? In 2002, 25 years after this series was produced, all 26 works from Gilbert & George's seminal Dirty Words Pictures were exhibited together for the first time at the Serpentine Galleries in London.
Many works from the series are held in prestigious museum collections such Cunt Scum in Tate, London; Angry in Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo; Are You Angry Or Are You Boring? in Stedelijk Van Abbesmuseum, Eindhoven; Cunt in Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Fuck in Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; Queer in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Smash in Arts Council Collection, London and Suck in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Massimo Martino Fine Arts, Switzerland Private Collection, Italy
Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Gilbert & George 1970-1988, 17 April - 20 June 1999, no. 20 London, Serpentine Gallery, Gilbert & George: The Dirty Words Pictures, 1977, 9 June - 1 September 2002, p. 41, illustrated in colour London, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Gilbert & George, Works from a Private Collection, 6 October - 6 November 2020
Carter Ratcliff, Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-1985, London 1986, p. 112, illustrated in colour Rudi Fuchs (ed.), Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, London 2007, vol. I, p. 287, illustrated in colour Rudi Fuchs (ed.), Gilbert & George: The Complete Pictures 1971-2005, London 2007, vol. II, p. 698, illustrated in colour