Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

Artist demands removal of work from “Hide/Seek”

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UPDATE: Bronson speaks with MAN here.

Ramifications to the Smithsonian’s decision to censor an exhibition keep on coming. Last night artist AA Bronson asked that his work Felix, June 5, 1994 be removed from the National Portrait Gallery exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.”

The work, hung on what is effectively the back wall of the exhibition, creates the show’s most powerful, confrontational moment. I addressed the work’s power and context here.

Bronson first made the request on his Facebook page. It was first reported by Hyperallergic.

In the Facebook post Bronson said:

I wrote to the National Portrait Gallery this evening requesting that they remove my work “Felix, June 5, 1994″ from the “Hide/Seek” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. As an artist who saw first hand the tremendous agony and pain that so many of my generation lived through, and died with, I cannot take the decision of the Smithsonian lightly. To edit queer history in this way is hurtful and disrespectful.

The news comes a day before Smithsonian undersecretary for art, history and culture Richard Kurin — one of the two people the Smithsonian initially fingered as the censors of the show, a falsity exposed by MAN’s reporting — holds a public meeting with Smithsonian staff from three Smithsonian art museums on Friday. That meeting was already likely to be contentious, but now…

UPDATE: Bronson speaks with MAN here.

I wrote to the National Portrait Gallery this evening requesting that they remove my work “Felix, June 5, 1994″ from the “Hide/Seek” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. As an artist who saw first hand the tremendous agony and pain that so many of my generation lived through, and died with, I cannot take the decision of the Smithsonian lightly. To edit queer history in this way is hurtful and disrespectful.

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Comments

  1. [...] Updating the Wojnarowicz fiasco: Protests against the removal of A Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek continue. The Warhol Foundation has threatened to withhold funding from any future Smithsonian projects until the video is reinstated in the show – a meaningful but ineffective gesture as the Warhol Foundation’s support is a fiscal scoop of creamed corn in the vast banquet that is the Smithsonian’s government funding – and kick-ass Canadian artist A.A. Bronson has recently put in motion a request for the National Gallery of Canada to withdraw his painting Felix, June 5, 1994 from the exhibition. In this case, existing loan agreements may make this protest equally futile, though Bronson’s action has proven an effective counter-censorship strategy in much the same way the initial removal has benefitted Wojnarowicz’s cause – both these disputed works are now being widely distributed across the internet, proving that censorship of art in this age doesn’t make the image go away, but rather increases its public scope. [...]

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