In an email sent today to National Portrait Gallery director Martin Sullivan and carbon-copied to the show’s curators, the director of the National Gallery of Canada, MAN and to other journalists, artist AA Bronson asserts that he has the legal right to remove his Felix, June 5, 1994 [right] from “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” which is on view at the NPG. (The piece is in the collection of the NGC.) For much of the last week Bronson has been trying to remove it as a protest against the Smithsonian Institution’s deletion of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly from the exhibition.
Here’s Bronson’s email, in its entirety:
My lawyer suggests that, according to my moral rights under copyright law in both Canada and the USA, I have the right to withdraw my work from Hide/Seek. Please remove my work from the exhibition immediately.
I have asked the NPG for comment on Bronson’s latest email. I will update this post as events warrant.
UPDATE: The NPG told Kate Taylor at the NYT that it would not take down the work.
UPDATE2: The NPG and SI have put out a press release saying the work stays up. The press release also says that: “The Portrait Gallery has invited Bronson to make a formal statement of his views, which would be installed next to his work for visitors to see, together with other public comments… Bronson has been invited to be a speaker at a symposium on “Hide/Seek” at the Portrait Gallery scheduled for Jan. 29, 2011; details of the symposium’s schedule will be announced at a later time.”
UPDATE3: Last night Bronson replied via an email addressed to me and sent to to the NPG, NGC, assorted journalists and curators: “Thanks for the copy of this press release… the National Portrait Gallery did not send it to me. They also have never sent me the catalog to the exhibition.
Martin Sullivan has invited me to participate in a panel discussion at the NPG. However, I will be installing my retrospective exhibition “Haute Glamour: General Idea” at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris at that time, and will be out of the country. My exhibition in Paris opens February 10th.”