The slogan “Silence=Death” remains one of the most recognizable images from the art produced during the AIDS crisis in America. Created by the activist art collective Gran Fury, it complemented a movement of creativity that held social change as its core. Now, over 30 years since the term “AIDS” was first recognized, the collective’s retrospective Gran Fury: Read My Lips at NYU captivates this tumultuous time in American history and shows us that, perhaps, we haven’t progressed much.
While at the landmark exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Brooklyn Museum, I realized I had to start my review with a statement that will look simple and quite possibly stupid: Hide/Seek is more than David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire In My Belly.”
In Kingston, Jamaica, making artwork that explores LGBT-related issues is becoming increasingly more accepted, however it still has the potential to be life threatening.
This week’s Required Reading examines how copyright law impacts images by animals, art’s LGBT problem, a history of English, China’s political prisoners, against reviews and Frank Lloyd Wright’s dislike of intellectuals.
Following the passage of the same-sex marriage bill in New York and a recent weekend of LGBT pride, it just felt right to attend curator Bradford Nordeen’s “Dirty Looks.” The series is a monthly platform for experimental queer film and video that Nordeen affectionately describes as “roaming”—June’s event was held at P.P.O.W. Gallery in Chelsea, though it takes place in various venues across the city.
The most visceral pieces in Brooklyn-based artist and activist Hunter Reynolds’ solo show Survival AIDS at Lower East Side nonprofit art space Participant Inc. are not, as one might expect, the blood splattered newspaper clippings screaming ominous headlines posted on the walls of the gallery. Rather, it’s the packing tape mummies collapsed on the floor and suspended from the walls that are the real shockers. The bodies missing from their cocoons seem to have only recently burst out, resurrected.
New York-based artist and artistic director of the Institute of Art, Religion and Social Justice AA Bronson has sent an email to the National Portrait Gallery requesting that his work “Felix, June 5, 1994” (1994/99) [pictured above] be removed from their Hide/Seek exhibition in light of the recent censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire In My Belly” video.
A Facebook post is sometimes a dangerous thing. When Artinfo’s “What’s Troubling about the Smithsonian’s Gay Art Show,” re-titled “What’s Troubling About the Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek Show,” article was posted to their Facebook page, it was re-captioned with the admittedly punchy line: “Are sexuality and gender appropriate themes for a Smithsonian art exhibition?” The ensuing response thread involved commenters, the show’s curators, and a game of journalistic hedging. It turns out that this “reviewer” hadn’t even seen the show they critiqued.
Is contemporary art becoming like art house cinema and its web of global funders and interests? Any healthy art machine requires a good circulatory system. It’s all well and good to make a work of art, but just as important is the machinery that connects the work of art to its intended or unintended audience — and, by extension, a marketplace.
Your favorite New Museum curatin’, balloon dog makin’, workshop ownin’ superstar contemporary artist, Mr. Jeff Koons, has now expanded his resume to include editorial photography for the New York Times Magazine.