Tyler Green
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Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

NPG: The Bronson will stay in the show

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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.

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Comments

  1. [...] UPDATE, 130pm EST: NPG tells MAN that Felix will stay in the show. [...]

  2. by Peter Pfeffer

    If there is a “legally binding agreement” wouldn’t the consent of both parties be required to remove a work?

    And if that is the case, how could the NPG unilaterally remove “A Fire in my Belly”?

  3. [...] to Hide/Seek should know how fortunate they are to see this phantom limb of yours. UPDATE: The kid stays in the picture SHARE and [...]

  4. That’s pretty f*cked up: when the museum is threatened it takes down a piece, when an artist requests a piece be taken down they leave it up. The museum shouldn’t respect the demands of bigoted politicians and not those of artists. Really weak.

  5. [...] Update: I’m getting mixed reports that Smithsonian has stated that the Bronson piece will stay.  They proclaim that they have a legal binding contract with the lending institution(National Gallery of Canada) of Bronson’s work and not with the artist. http://blogs.artinfo.com/modernartnotes/2010/12/npg-the-bronson-will-stay-in-the-show/ [...]

  6. [...] And earlier this week the artist AA Bronson wrote to the director of the National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian museum, to ask that the gallery remove one of his works from the exhibition, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portaiture,” which explores homosexual themes, The Washington Post reported. The Bronson work in question, a wall-sized photograph titled “Felix, June 5, 1994,” shows the corpse of Mr. Bronson’s partner shortly after he died of AIDS. It is on loan to the exhibition from the National Gallery of Canada. A spokeswoman for the National Portrait Gallery said that the gallery wanted to keep the exhibition intact and therefore would not return the photograph early, according to the blog Modern Art Notes. [...]

  7. [...] the director of the portrait gallery, to remove his photograph, but as of early Friday afternoon, the gallery was refusing, saying it wanted to keep all the works currently in the show on [...]

  8. [...] And progressing this week a artist AA Bronson wrote to a executive of a National Portrait Gallery, a Smithsonian museum, to ask that a gallery mislay one of his works from a exhibition, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portaiture,” that explores homosexual themes, The Washington Post reported. The Bronson work in question, a wall-sized sketch patrician “Felix, Jun 5, 1994,” shows a remains of Mr. Bronson’s partner shortly after he died of AIDS. It is on loan to a muster from a National Gallery of Canada. A mouthpiece for a National Portrait Gallery pronounced that a gallery wanted to keep a muster total and therefore would not lapse a sketch early, according to a blog Modern Art Notes. [...]

  9. [...] Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibit in the wake of the Wojanrowicz controversy. The NPG says no way. Tyler Green has an interview with the [...]

  10. [...] NPG told MAN last week that it would not remove the work. I did a Q&A with Bronson last [...]

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