As part of our grand opening event on Saturday, November 6, 2010, Plug In ICA and AA Bronson present a new series of life- size self-portraits, over-sized silkscreen prints based on his collaborative project “Invocation of the Queer Spirits.”
The work refers to the Joseph Beuys self- portrait of 1972, “La rivoluzione siamo Noi.” Like Beuys, Bronson inhabits the multiple personaes of artist, educator, activist, and shaman to challenge the dominance of the marketplace in a consumerist society. Influenced in the late 60s by Beuys’ prodigious output of low-cost multiples and his performative and often collaborative approach to making art, AA Bronson went on to found General Idea with his collaborators Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal in 1969. They worked and lived together for 25 years until his partners’ death in 1994. Bronson now lives in New York City, where he is the President of Printed Matter, Inc. and the Artistic Director of the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary.
Between 2006 and 2009, AA Bronson collaborated with artist and academic Peter Hobbs on the project “Invocation of the Queer Spirits,” a series of five “performances” in five cities, in which a group of gay men gathered in a secret location at an unannounced time without documentation or an audience. The rituals that resulted are evoked, and invoked, in Plug In ICA’s new book, “Queer Spirits,” Bronson and Hobbs’ diaristic and imagistic exploration of the project co-published with Creative Time, New York (forthcoming, January 2011). Together they explored the various social forms of group therapy, ceremonial magic, the sweat lodge, witch’s covens, gay heart circles, and 19th century spiritualist séances to create the queer hybrid they entitled “Invocation of the Queer Spirits.” The fourth of these was commissioned by Plug In, and was held in the abandoned United Army Surplus store in its last days, before it was torn down to make room for the new building that houses Plug In today.
“We are the revolution” presents an image of Bronson photographed by Winnipeg film-maker and Plug In President Noam Gonick moments before the performance began. The prints are applied with diamond dust.
The portraits are presented in Plug In ICA’s new galleries, so that Bronson is in fact standing in almost the exact location where the photograph was originally taken.