Via Hyperallergic: AA Bronson's "Felix, June 5, 1994" (1994/99) is the work the artist is requesting be pulled out of the "Hide/Seek" exhibition. The work depicts Felix Partz, one of Bronson's collaborators in the Toronto-based collective General Idea. Partz died in 1994 of an AIDS-related illness. (image via aabronson.com)
[with permission from AA Bronson]:
Date: December 17, 2010
To: Martin Sullivan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery
From: AA Bronson
Dear Martin Sullivan,
Thanks for telephoning me and I am writing to confirm our conversation.
You began by offering to bring me to Washington to see the exhibition, at the Museum's expense.
You reported that the National Gallery of Canada was unable to cancel the loan because of the loan agreement, but that Marc Meyer, the Director, urged you to cooperate with me. (My understanding from Marc is that they CAN terminate the loan, but they would rather not do so on political grounds. Marc, maybe you can clarify).
You described my work "Felix, June 5, 1994" as one of three works given a major amount of space in the exhibition. It was because of that space that the museum was unable to give as much space to the videos in the exhibition as they really needed. You withdrew the David Wojnarowicz video because you felt it wasn't being given "proper respect" because of the lack of space. I am not positive that I got this right, but I think you said that this was done BEFORE the Catholic League published a statement about the work, and you claim that a journalist goaded the politicians into making their statements. Please don't take offense if I say that this all sounds exceedingly convenient. Not to say that it isn't true but it is not convincing.
My proposal is that you reinstate the video, but in its complete form, as the artist intended (you were showing only a clip before, I understand, which already constitutes a prior censorship of the work).
If that means removing my work in order to make an appropriate space for the video, in its full form, I give my permission to do just that.
Editor's Note: AA Bronson's decision sets an example for his fellow artists and sends the message that we have a stake in these issues and we will have our say; nor are we rendered mute once our work is physically out of our hands. ...Apparently, Martin Sullivan is in a meeting with the Smithsonian this afternoon to determine what they will do. Updates to follow...
More news, interviews, correspondence, articles about AA Bronson's decision to pull his work, "Felix, June 5, 1994" (1994/99), from the "Hide/Seek" exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery:
HYPERALLERGIC: Artist Requests to Be Removed from Smithsonian’s Hide/Seek [UPDATE 3]
by Hrag Vartanian on December 16, 2010
MODERN ART NOTES, Tyler Green interviews AA BRONSON: Q&A with AA Bronson on ‘Hide/Seek,’ ‘Felix’, December 16, 2010, 12:52 pm
WASHINGTON POST: Artist asks to withdraw work from 'Hide/Seek' exhibit to protest video removal, by Blake Gopnik. Posted at 9:18 AM ET, 12/16/2010