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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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The Eye of the (Be)holder: Collaboration, Reciprocity, and Performance in AA Bronson's Parting (Self)Portrait of General Idea

Deborah Barkun

Saturday, March 08 - 11:00AM to 11:45AM
Holiday 2-3

Throughout 25 years (1969-1994) of collaborative life and work, the collective General Idea-AA Bronson, Jorge Zontal, and Felix Partz-developed a complex artistic mythology and identity that enabled the production of a substantial body of work, despite challenges provoked by art world partiality to individual authorship and, eventually, HIV/AIDS, which claimed the lives of Zontal and Partz. Here, I analyze a suite of self-portraits, arguing that the camera becomes a prosthetic eye that facilitates a fleeting unity through reciprocal dynamics of vision and sightlessness, resulting in a moving, yet ultimately futile, attempt to preserve collaboration beyond its mortal limits.


Deborah Barkun
Deborah Barkun

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