Chadd Curry chooses his ten most profound suicides

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I became. People think of my make up as a mask but its the opposite, I think we have the opportunity to make ourselves up each and every day. We can create our identity and its a privilege that we live in a world where we can do that.”

If you live in London you may have seen Chadd walking the streets of Hackney after midnight draped in black and white from head to toe, face painted religiously, with excessive monochrome drapery trailing off his body.

Chadd Curry changed his name to Dahc Dermur once arriving in London in 2011 from New York where he had lived for eleven years. In New York, Chadd opened the first Rick Owens stateside boutique,  was a stylist and eventually had his own collection and collaboration with artist Maria Intscher (who is now head designer at Calvin Klein) called The Ghost has No Home.

On leaving New York Chadd gave away all of his belongings, cut up his credit cards and had all but ten euro. Aged 45 and starting afresh in London he says that he knew he was home, he felt ‘an overwhelming sense of belonging. When you remove yourself from any attachment the universiverse always steps in , it was a way to restart life again’. London was Chadd’s rebirth – and there is really no one else like him not only in London, but the entire world.

Now a fixture on London’s club scene Chadd regularly DJ’s and can be seen in the likes of KAOS and at his own bimonthly event N.U.N at Sketch. Chadd’s dedication to his subversive lifestyle filters into every aspect of his existence, and at Sang Bleu we are big fans of [...]


“If I die of AIDS – forget burial – just drop my body on the steps of the F.D.A.” David Wojnarowicz

 

Thanks to New York University’s Fales Library the journals of multimedia artist and social activist David Wojnarowicz have been digitalized and made available to view in full online. Containing personal tales of the unsung hero’s travels across Europe and America and correspondence with those he became associated with alongside the developmental processes of his art and film work, the catalogued pages are dated from 1971 to 1991 shortly before the artist’s own death from an AIDs related illness in 1992.

The artist was known to be the lover of photographer Peter Hujar (most noted for his photography of American actress Candy Darling on her deathbed) before his death from AIDS complications in 1987, after which the Wojnarowicz’s work became heavily concerned with and driven by the social and legal injustices inherent in the response to the AIDS epidemic, summed up so succinctly a jacket worn by the artist at a demonstration emblazoned with the words “If I die of AIDS – forget burial – just drop my body on the steps of the F.D.A.” [the American Food and Drug Administration at the centre of controversy surrounding the mismanagement of responses to the AIDS epidemic].

Sadly the battle against the injustices highlighted in his work continued long after his death, even recently in 2010 the Smithsonian removed and edited footage from Wojnarowicz’s short fiilm A Fire in My Belly following complaints from members of religious groups, his journals act as a lasting reminder of the need to demand the basic rights that are so sadly still denied in the shadows of the often not so far flung corners of the world.

See the papers in full here.


Sexuality – Ron Athey and Amelia Jones in conversation at the Whitechapel Gallery

On the 8th of January, Art historian Amelia Jones will be joined by artist and Sang Bleu friend Ron Athey to discuss the relevance of sexuality in contemporary art, from expression to repression, exploring how the term has shifted in tandem with artistic and theoretical debates.

These photographs were taken by Devin Blair of Ron Athey for the 6th issue of Sang Bleu and we have shared a selection of them with you today in light of this sure to be fascinating and insightful conversation taking place in the new year.

Ron Athey is a London-based performance artist from Los Angeles. He has been performed body and sound-based works since 1981, starting with PE, a collaboration with Rozz Williams. Through the ’90s in the heat of the AIDS pandemic, “Ron Athey and Company” toured the so-called ‘torture’ trilogy, performing at PS122, New York; ICA, London; Festival Atlantico, Lisbon; x’teresa, Mexico d.f.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; CCA, Glasgow; Cankjarev Dom, Ljulbjana; among others. Starting in 1999, Athey explored solo work, notably with Solar Anuswhich was shown at such venues as Hayward Gallery, London; Luciano Inga-Pen Gallery, Milan; NGBK, Berlin; and the Self-Obliteration cycle at Hebbel und Ufer, Berlin and participant inc., New York. Athey has also worked and collaborated with Juliana Snapper (The Judas Cradle), Lawrence Steger (Incorruptible Flesh), and Julie Tolentino (90s company work and Tolentino’s archival project The Sky Remains The Same). A monograph edited by Dominic Johnson, entitled Pleading in the Blood, was published by Intellect press last year.

Amelia Jones is the Robert A. Day Chair in Fine Arts at the Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California and Vice-Dean of Critical Studies; she was previously (2010-14) Grierson Chair in Visual Culture in the Art History and Communication Studies Department at McGill University. Her recent [...]


Nirvana: Strange Forms of Pleasure

Nirvana: Strange Forms of Pleasure, an exhibition that examines the influence of erotica on contemporary art, design and fashion, is currently on show at the MUDAC Museum of Applied Arts and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A universal selection of artists across all art and design practices, such as Atelier van Lieshout, Zaha Hadid, Yves Behar, Pierre Charpin, Betony Vernon and the house of Maison Martin Margiela have contributed to the group exhibition.

The exhibition stems from an observation of the growing number of artistic practitioners being inspired by the fetish scene. Though referencing the fetishistic is nothing new, curators Marco Costantini and Susanne Hilpert Stuber were possessed by the influence erotica was having across all disciplines of the art and design industry and how such influences were being used and subverted in order to challenge our perceptions of pleasure.

The display of 200 images, objects and clothing is a voyeuristic exhibition of the personal perceptions of pleasure from the 100 contributing artists and designers; their (what hitherto remained private) sexuality and desires are made public. The exhibition seeks to challenge forms of expression and how notions of the private and the public are subverted when they’re subject of a fashion, design or artistic object that we engage with in normalcy everyday. Van Lieshout’s ‘Body Sofa’ demands the body to place themselves within the tangled orgy of vaguely humanely characterised forms that create the sofa’s silhouette and Karim Rashid’s ‘Karimsutra Bed’ is a bed that beholds no function for sleep, just sex; each part is designed for the comfortable support of a position of the Karma Sutra.

Society’s vigorous desire for sensual pleasure in the digital age is explored throughout Nirvana and many of our pre-constructed taboos surrounding fetishism and erotica are subverted through the use of unexpected shapes and materials. Mark Woods in particular [...]


A discussion with Matthew Linde of Centre for Style at Sang Bleu

This Sunday at 8pm at The Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Practice Space, Matthew Linde of Centre for Style will be joining us in conversation with our editor Reba Maybury.

Matthew Linde is the curator, artist and director behind the exhibition space and shop Centre for Style in Melbourne, Australia. Centre for Style exhibits and showcases some of the most cutting edge contemporary fashions which possess optimistic and entertaining possibilities, presenting them in a fine art context. Linde’s work as a curator and artist is providing our current language of fashion with a stimulating outlook on the industry where it becomes playful and interactive. His work challenges a raw and democratic simplicity in our perception of clothes in contrast to the all too often elitist and extravagant vulgarity which is all too prevalent in the contemporary fashion industry.

Please join us this Sunday evening to hear our discussion with Linde where this will be the first series of talks which will be ongoing at the Sang Bleu Contemporary Art and Practice.

 29b Dalston Lane, Dalston, London E8 2ET

8pm

FREE!

www.centreforstyle.org

www.centreforstyle.tumblr.com


Candy Darling’s letter to Peter Hujar

On what would have been Darling’s 70th birthday we remember her through her iconic photographs taken by Peter Hujar of her on her death bed.

This letter was written to photographer Peter Hujar by Warhol superstar and trans woman Candy Darling while she was suffering from lymphoma before her premature death at the age of 29 in 1974 . The now famous photograph named ‘Candy on her Death Bed’ was created for the purpose of being published in Warhol’s Interview magazine and the letter presented here shows us a different perspective to the hauntingly beautiful photograph that Candy had organised. Within these contact sheet photographs we see Candy in bed, limp and frail but her intrinsic glamour shines through the sterility of the hospital setting in a completely overpowering way. Even in face of death Candy Darling’s pioneering character provokes a kind of energy that could only be produced by an individual as original as Darling.

Candy Darling’s letter to Peter Hujar about her hospital bed portrait, October 31, 1973.

Dear Peter,

Thank you for at last sending me the contact sheet.  I would like two prints of all the ones I have marked.  Please call me at xxx-xxx-4219 and tell me how much they will be and I will send you a check.  

I am very anxious to get these pictures as I want them printed in Interview and you will get photo credit.

My fans would feel cheated if they didn’t get to see what I looked like in my hospital bed.  I think you know how I feel.

Please be speedy Peter this means a lot to me and after the hell I’ve been through I think I deserve this little favor.  So call me right away O.K. thanks.  I’ll be seeing [...]


The Flawless Sabrina Archive

 

One of the many wonderful developments that the internet has offered us is a new economy where we can all donate and help projects evolve which would have had a far greater possibility of fading into obscurity without our new awareness of more obscure and financially not profitable projects.

Flawless Sabrina is the American LGBT icon, who since the 1950s has been at the forefront of progressive social changes in the queer community. Now there is a new Kickstarter campaign to help create and save Sabrina’s phenomenally large and important archive.

To explain Sabrina’s influence throughout the twentieth century is difficult to grasp for no other reason other than for the fact that it is so vast. Well known for her appearance in the seminal 1968 documentary The Queen, Sabrina throughout the 50s and 60s operated a national drag beauty pageant aptly named The Nationals which inspired the influential film.

Throughout the 60s and 70s, Sabrina’s experience was used to consultant on films such as Midnight Cow, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Myra Breckinridge as an assumed expert of homosexual matters which was meant to inform the film industry at a time when queer subject matter was tentatively addressed in cinema.

In later years Sabrina became involved in politics, having worked with Hilary Clinton to enable transgender people to alter the (M/F) sex marker on their U.S. passport, and for gay marriage. She is an active member of her community, and a go-to resource for trans in the arts and politics. In late 2013 Sabrina worked closely with luxury department store Barneys on their groundbreaking transgender themed ad campaign shot by Bruce Weber.

And it is through this latest project that the possibility of cementing her historic, cultural and political influence will [...]