Identity Politics

“I think truth is a layered phenomenon. There are many truths that accumulate and build up. I am trying to peel back and explore these rich layers of truth. All truths are difficult to reach.” – Sally Mann
Sally Mann, Emmett and the White Boy, 1990.











NEA Chain Gang

Art Criminal Chain Gang in Los Angeles (resulting in 20 arrests), 1990.



NEA mission: "to enrich our Nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of artistic excellence,
advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country."
Karen Finley, Tim Miller, John Fleck and Holly Hughes apply for grants and are denied because their works deemed "indescent" by Congress
NEA decides to cease funding for individual artists
Senate uses Ron Athey's performance work to justify further cuts to NEA funding
Congress cuts funding by 30% to $99.5 million
Congress votes to phase out federal funding of the program in two years
House announces their plan to eliminate the Endowment
Supreme Court determines that the statute mandating the Endowment to consider “general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public” in awarding grants is constitutional.
"NEA Four" compensated with money equal to grant money they would have received
NEA has $144.7 million budget
NEA budget request $161.3 million allowing grant awards to state and regional non-profits to fund performances, exhibitions, tours, festivals, education programs and other activities.
President Obama requests $147.9 million budget to support NEA
Trump budget proposes elimination of NEA. Congress increases funding by $2 million.
Trump budget proposes elimination of NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and PBS.










Identity Politics
This Kid...
Artists explore the construction of identity and identification
Question what is accepted as "normal" and how the indidual navigates that definition
“Wojnarowicz uses the sharp delineation of his identity, principally in its divergence from the culture’s norms, to lay bare society’s ethical flaws and dissimulation. [He engages in a] painfully uncompromising self-scrutiny and exposure.”
- Jonathan Fineberg
David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (One day this kid…), 1990.












Ron Athey and Dominic Johnson, Incorruptible Flesh (Perpetual Wound), 2006.


Ron Athey interview











St. Sebastian

Andrea Mantegna, Martyrdom of St.Sebastian, 1456 - 1459.
Catherine Opie, Ron Athey, 1994.











Four Scene in a Harsh Life, L.A. Center Theater, 1993.
Catherine Opie, Ron Cutting Divinity, 2000.











Solar Anus
"There's something kind of intuitively alchemical I'm trying to do, and I don't know if sometimes it's really art that I'm trying to land at. Sometimes it's outside of art."
- Ron Athey
"In 2004, a 24-year-old UCLA student Joseph Deutch presented a work of performance art named 'untitled Russian roulette,' in which, using a wooden gun, he staged a fake suicide in front of his classmates, many of whom initially believed the act to be real. Deutch was awarded an A - for the work, and was unpunished by his administration, but the jarring incident (with its lack of mentionable aftermath) incited legendary performance artist Chris Burden and his wife, sculptor Nancy Rubins, to resign from the school’s faculty. What Deutch had done, they said in a statement issued through their art dealer, was a kind of 'domestic terrorism' that made onlookers 'fear for their lives.' Burden stated that university grounds possess 'rules of speech and decorum,' and emphasized that in his own canonized gun piece, Shoot, 1971 (in which the artist had his assistant shoot him in the arm with a rifle), the audience had been forewarned."
- Sky Gooden
Catherine Opie, Ron Athey, 1994.











Catherine Opie, Self-Portrait, 1993.












1957 born in Guaimaro, Cuba, the third of what would eventually be four children 1964 Dad bought me a set of watercolors and gave me my first cat 1971 sent to Spain with my sister Gloria, then went to Puerto Rico to live with my uncle 1979 returned to Cuba to see my parents after an eight-year separation 1981 parents escaped Cuba during Mariel boat lift, my brother Mario and sister Mayda escaped with them 1978 met Jeff in Puerto Rico 1976 Gloria and I moved to our own apartment-small, but full of sunlight 1977 Rosa 1976 met my friend Mario 1979 moved to New York City 1980 met Luis at the beach 1983 received BFA from Pratt Institute 1981 and 1983 attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program 1987 received MFA from the International Center of Photography and New York University 1983 Ross at the Boybar 1985 Jeff gave me Pebbles and Biko, two Lilac Point Siamese cats-hardly able to support myself, and now with two cats to feed, only Jeff 1985 first trip to Europe, first summer with Ross 1986 summer in Venice, studied Venetian painting and architecture 1986 blue kitchen, blue flowers in Toronto - a real home for the first time in so long, so long, Ross is here 1987 Wawanaisa Lake: beavers, wild brown bears, Harry retrieved every buoy he sees, New York Times every morning, duck cabin 1986 Mother died of leukemia 1990 Myriam died 1991 Ross died of AIDS, Dad died three weeks later, a hundred small yellow envelopes of my lover's ashes-his last will 1991 Jorge stopped talking to me, I'm lost - Claudio and Miami Beach saved me 1992 Jeff died of AIDS 1990 silver ocean in San Francisco 1992 President Clinton - hope, twelve years of trickle-down economics came to an end 1990 moved to L.A. with Ross (already very sick), Harry the Dog, Biko, and Pebbles, the Ravenswood, Rossmore, golden hour, Ann and Chris by the pool, magic hour, rented a red car, money for the first time, no more waiting on tables, 'Golden Girls', great students at CalArts, Millie and Catherine, went back to Madrid after almost twenty years-sweet revenge 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall 1991 Bruno and Mary, two black cats Ross found in Toronto, came to live with me 1991 the world I knew is gone, moved the four cats, books, and a few things to a new apartment 1991 went back to L.A., hospitalized for 10 days 1990 first show with Andrea Rosen 1993 moved to 24th Street 1987 joined Group Material 1991 Julie moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan 1992 the forces of hate and ignorance are alive and well in Oregon and Colorado, among other places 1993 Sam Nunn is such a sissy, peace might be possible in the Middle East 1992 started to collect George Nelson clocks and furniture 1993 three years since Ross died, painted kitchen floor bright orange, this book
Felix Gonzales-Torres, Untitled, 1989.











Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Clockwise from top left: Untitled (Death By Gun) 1990,
Untitled (Aparicion) 1991, Untitled (The End), 1990, Untitled (Republican Years) 1992.











Viewer takes home Untitled (Death by Gun), 1990.











Felix Gonzales Torres, Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1991.











"Above all else, it's about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that's why I made works of art." - Felix Gonzalez Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bed, 1991.











Plywood Show

Lover Boys

Robert Morris, Plywood Show, 1964.
Felix Gonzalez torres, Untitled (Corner of Baci), 1990.











Placcebo installed

Felix Gonzalez Torres,  Untitled (Placebo), 1991.

Baci = italian for "kiss"
"I'm giving you this sugary thing; you put it in your mouth and you suck on someone else's body. And in this way, my work becomes part of so many other people's bodies. It's very hot." - Gonzalez-Torres











The work is "about everybody's memories, as well as their fears." - Sally Mann


Sally Mann, Candy Cigarette, 1989.










Last Light

Sally Mann, Last Light, 1989.











Sally Mann, The Terrible Picture, 1989.
Sally Mann, Jessie and the Deer, 1985.