In an email to MAN, National Portrait Gallery spokesperson Bethany Bentley says that the NPG will not remove AA Bronson’s Felix, June 5, 1994 from “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” On Wednesday night Bronson emailed the NPG and asked for the work to be taken out of the exhibition. Bronson made his request as a response to the Smithsonian’s removing David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly from “Hide/Seek.” Felix is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, and therefore the loan agreement for the work is between the National Gallery and the NPG, and is not between the artist and the museum.
“The Smithsonian and the Portrait Gallery are committed to keeping all of the works currently in the exhibition on view through February 13,” Bentley said. “We will adhere to the loan agreement.”
I asked Bentley if the NPG would decline to remove the piece even if the National Gallery of Canada asked for it.
“The loan agreement is a legally binding document,” Bentley said. “So yes.”
About an hour before the NPG’s statement, I spoke with Bronson. Our Q&A is here.