Photographic Politics

"Humanity is not one." - Susan Sontag
Visual Analysis Essay Due
Field Journal Essay 9 Due
Barbara Kruger, Untitled, 1981.











Barbara Kruger, Untitled (We Don't Need Another Hero), 1987.











Barbara Kruger, Man's Best Friend, 1987.
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Your body is a battleground), 1989.











"I work with pictures and words because they have the ability to determine who we are,
what we want to be, and what we become." - Barbara Kruger


Barbara Kruger, It's a small world..., 1990.
across from Port Authority building during NY Hilton labor strike, 2000











Cala Lily

Robert Mapplethorpe, Calla Lily, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Parrot Tulip, 1988.












Female Nude

Male Nude

Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled (female nude),  1981.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Untitled (male nude), 1981.













Robert Mapplethorpe, Shoe (Melody), 1987.
Robert Mapplethorpe,Two Men Dancing, 1984.











Historic Context
1965 National Endowment for the Arts created, $2.4 million budget
1978 Assassination of first openly gay elected official, SF Supervisor, Harvey Milk along side Mayor, George Muscone
1981 AIDS first reported in popular press
1985 More than 1,000 San Franciscans have died of AIDS
Rock Hudson dies of AIDS
1986 Conservative commentator, William F. Buckley, in a March 18, 1986, New York Times opinion article, called for mandatory testing for HIV and said that HIV-positive gay men should have this information forcibly tattooed on their buttocks (and IV-drug users on their arms)
1987 "Black Monday" stock market crash
AIDS Memorial Quilt project begun by SF Gay Rights Leaders
President Reagan first uses term "AIDS" in public
Robert Mapplethorpe, American Flag, 1987.
71,176 diagnosed with AIDS and 41,027 of those dead
1988 Perfect Moment exhibition at Institute of Contemporary Arts, Philadelphia
1989 Berlin Wall torn down
Perfect Moment exhibition at the Museum of Contemprary Art, Chicago
Perfect Moment exhibition canceled two weeks before opening at Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C.
Senate debate against NEA support of Perfect Moment
Robert Mapplethorpe dies of AIDS
1990 Perfect Moment exhibition at the University Art Museum, UC Berkeley
Germany reunited
Nelson Mandela released from prison
Keith Haring, Freddie Mercury, Craig Owens and Halston die of AIDS
Perfect Moment exhibition at Cincinnati Contemporary Arts
Dennis Barrie acquited of charges of pandering and obscenity related to Perfect Moment exhibition
1991 USSR desolved and Boris Yeltsin becomes Russian President
AIDS Ribbon campaign begun in conjunction with World AIDS Day
Magic Johnson publicly announces he is HIV positive
Isaac Asimov dies of AIDS
1992 David Wojnarowicz dies of AIDS
1994 Advent of the World Wide Web
Official end of white rule in South Africa
Elizabeth Glaser dies of AIDS
1997 Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister of Britain, ending 18 years of Conservative rule
"Dollie" the sheep cloned in UK
1996 Felix Gonzalez-Torres dies of AIDS






















Self-Portrait with Bullwhip

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait with Bullwhip, 1978.


LACMA presentation of Mapplethorpe's X, Y, and Z Portfolios











Gran Fury. Kissing Doesn't Kill. 1990. Ink on vinyl.











Piss Christ

Andres Serrano, Piss Christ, 1987.











Transcripts of Senate debate on Piss Christ photo
The Guardian editorial on the work's recent destruction
Piss Christ destroyed after being hammered and stabbed with a screwdriver in 2011











Madonna and Child

Transcripts of Senate debate on Serrano's photo
Sister Wendy on Serrano's Piss Christ
Andres Serrano explains:
"As a former Catholic, and as someone who even today is not opposed to being called a Christian, I felt I had every right to use the symbols of the Church and resented being told not to."
"I have always felt that my work is religious, not sacrilegious."
"I think if the Vatican is smart, someday they'll collect my work."
Vandalism of Piss Christ
Andres Serrano, Madonna and Child, 1989.












Joel-Peter Witkin, Poet:  From a collection of relics and ornaments, 1986.











Le Baisier

Joel Peter Witkin, Le Baisier (New Mexico), 1982.











Un Santo Oscuro

Joel-Peter Witkin, Un Santo Oscuro, 1987.


More Witkin