Integrative Seminar + Studio: Whitney Museum Research

Part 1:

Pieces of Selected Piece:

Part 2:

2a:

  • The details that jumped out at me the most were the colors. Every shape and color was comprised out of little colored dots that created an intensely colorful piece. The look in Felix’s eyes is very specific, it almost breaks the boundary of death and life. The set up of the scene, whether it be slightly staged or not is eccentric, lively, and truly shows the personality of Felix. The little details show the realness of the situation, such as the TV remote or the pack of Marlboro cigarettes to the left. These details show how Felix was just a human like the rest of us.
  • My initial impression was that the photo was staged and that Felix looked as if he had been dead for some time. Learning the realness and immediacy of the piece definitely adds a sense of intensity, and almost disturbing nature to the piece.

2b:

The material used was inkjet on vinyl. The inkjet allowed for the vibrancy of colors and the vinyl allowed for the “professional” and clean aesthetic of the piece as to look at something to be taken seriously.

Part 3:

3a:

  • The materials cohere by making an eye catching piece that looks clean and legitimate. The text in the bottom right corner is subtle but works with the piece as it looks like a time/date stamp on a film/disposable camera.
  • This work related to the other items in the exhibit as it discusses a subject matter that most people try to ignore or erase due to what it reveals about society and the realities of life.

3b.

  • Inkjet printing was developed in the 1950s and mass use of this type of printing started in the 1970s. Vinyl decals were first invented in France around 1750.
  • The time period is important to understand and interpret the work, as during the 90s AIDS was widely disregarded and misunderstood. During this time many famous people were either diagnosed or died for HIV/AIDS.

Part 4:

4a:

  1. What were (and continue to be) the reactions to this piece that exploits such an intensely personal moment?
    • Knowing how people react/ed to the work can help to understand the stigma around HIV/AIDS. This relates to my topics as it discusses how people react to private emotions and scenes in public areas. This work also supports connectivity between the viewer, subject, and the artist (as all are human and experience tragedy) in a way that I would like to explore.
  2. Are all private moments shocking to an outside viewer?
    • This moment is naturally shocking as it includes a man that has died of a painful disease, but is this moment only seen for its shock value, or do viewers truly see the intense sadness of the moment? This helps to understand how the feelings are transmitted through the piece. This relates to my topic as it questions the best way to connect personal emotions with a viewer.
  3. How does the scale affect the impact on the viewer?
    • This piece is of a large size, making the viewer unable to look away and feel as if they were inside this moment. The scale makes it easier for the viewer to look into the eyes of Felix. This relates to my topic as it shows a way to make a viewer totally submerged in a content/emotion.

4b:

4c:

Before “Felix Partz, June 5, 1994”, Bronson worked with both Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal on their underground magazine FILE from 1972-1989. This magazine, with its name a direct mockery of LIFE magazine, was the collectives early involvement with the punk movement and queer issues, such as AIDS activism. Bronson worked on a performance series with fellow artist Peter Hobbs after the death of both of his partners in 1994. The series “Queer Spirits” was a collection of ritualistic performances in five locations (Banff, New Orleans, Winnipeg, Governors Island, and Fire Island) that was emblematic of and included the queer communities of the specific cities.

Bronson through his works FILE, “Felix Partz, June 5, 1994”, and “Queer Spirits” becomes a voice for the suppressed, discriminated, and misunderstood queer community. With his first work FILE with his fellow partners showed a more radical perspective that focused on mass awareness (to the extent that they could) of queer issues. With the work I saw at the Whitney I witnessed a more personal and serious side to Bronson’s queer perspective, showing the reality of HIV/AIDS and demanding awareness of the disease. “Queer Spirits” on the other hand shows Bronson’s spiritual side, observing queer communities and showing them in a more fantastical way, emphasizing connections with nature and the importance of community.

I believe that Whitney chose “Felix Partz, June 5, 1994” for their exhibit because of its disturbing realness and “in your face” protest that the content and size demonstrate. The piece has a necessary harshness that is important for calling attention to serious issues, in this case HIV/AIDS. The piece does the cause and Felix justice on its own, no need for multiples or complicated staging, the stare from Felix’s emaciated face impacts the viewer with the perfect balance of sadness, disgust, and anger.

 

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