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Guide to the Robert Blanchon Papers and Collection MSS.220

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Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Bethany Martin-Breen and Lisa Darms, 2009.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 13, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated by Megan O'Shea to prepare artwork being sent to offsite art storage in September 2017 Updated by Megan O'Shea to prepare artwork being sent to offsite art storage in December 2017 Updated to include materials integrated from accession number 2018.083 by Kate Fisher.   , August 2017 , November 2017 , June 2018

Biographical Note

Robert Blanchon was born in Foxboro, Massachusetts in 1965. Between 1984 and 1990, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned his BFA and MFA. While in Chicago, Blanchon was an active participant in the non-profit art scene. He curated exhibitions at N.A.M.E. gallery, contributed to Tony Tasset, et al's artist project "Anonymous Museum", and designed a poster for the City of Chicago's billboard campaign, Art Against AIDS: On the Road. From 1989 to 1994, Robert Blanchon lived in New York City and worked in the Communications Department at the New Museum of Contemporary Art while producing his photographic, sculptural, performance, and video artworks. He had a studio on Canal Street where he completed many of his early photographic series including the stains, tattoos, and greeting cards series. Also during this period, Blanchon created two of his most widely known and exhibited artworks, "Untitled (self-portrait)" (1991), a series of fourteen self-portraits commissioned by street artists, and "Protection" (1992), a letter by the artist to his mother telling her he was HIV positive, juxtaposed with her twelve-page response. He had two solo shows in New York City, at Artists Space in 1994 and at White Columns in 1995. In 1995, Blanchon moved to California to take a position as an artist-in-residence at the University of California, Irvine. Teaching and art-making were from this point forward his main occupations. While in California, he produced the video "let's just kiss and say goodbye" (1995), which was exhibited in national and international film festivals, and he had two major solo shows, one at the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies in 1996 and one at Marc Foxx Gallery in the following year. He worked at UC Irvine until 1997, leaving after being denied a tenure track position despite his popularity with students who voted him Best Teacher in 1996. In the spring of 1998, Blanchon moved back to Chicago to become an artist-in-residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in the fall of the same year, he took another artist-in-residence position at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During this time he had a solo show of new works of photography and sculpture at the June and John Alcott Gallery in Chapel Hill. The following spring he returned to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to teach a graduate level seminar. By the end of the summer Blanchon was hospitalized due to complications related to AIDS, and on October 3, 1999, he died at age 33. Source: Much of the information in the biographical note was taken from a biography produced by Visual AIDS for the Robert Blanchon Estate Project.

Chronology

One Person Exhibitions

2000 Minimal Provocations:The Art and Influence of Robert Blanchon, Betty Rymer Gallery, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, IL (brochure)
1998  Robert Blanchon, John and June Allcott Gallery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Chapel Hill, NC
1997  Robert Blanchon, Marc Foxx; Santa Monica, CA (catalogue)
1996  lalalalalala lalalalalala lalalalalalalalalalala, Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies; Los Angeles, CA (catalogue)
1995  Robert Blanchon, White Columns; New York, NY
1994 Carcharodon carcharias (Jaws), AIDS Forum, Artists Space; New York, NY
 Selected Group Exhibitions

2006  Stephen Andrews and Robert Blanchon, Kendall Gallery, Miami Dade Community College; Miami, FL (brochure)
2005  At the Mercy of Others: The Politics of Care, Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program Exhibition; New York, NY (catalogue)
2004  video shakes, Gallery M; Harlem, NY
1999  The Mourning After: Art of Loss, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; Los Angeles, CA (catalogue)
1998  I'm Still in Love with You, Women's 20th Century Club; Eagle Rock, CA (catalogue)
 Out Inside-UC Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Faculty Artists, Sesnon Gallery at Porter College; Santa Cruz, CA
 Picture Show: Photo-Based and Video Art from L.A., Weinstein Gallery; Minneapolis, MN
 Disappearing Act, Bound and Unbound and Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects; New York, NY
 Spaceship Earth, Art in General; New York, NY
 Perspectives on Infinity, Transamerica Pyramid Galleries; San Francisco, CA
 Salon: A selection of work by artists from the archive project, Visual AIDS at the National Arts Club; New York, NY
 Low, Marc Foxx; Los Angeles, CA
1997  Contemporary Collections '97, Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies; Los Angeles, CA
 L.A. Current: The Photographers' Perspective, UCLA at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center; Los Angeles, CA
 Orange County Museum of Art 1997 Bienneal; Newport Beach, CA (catalogue)
OUT Auction, Santa Monica Museum of Art; Santa Monica, CA (catalogue)
 Hollywood Premiere, Popular Mechanics at Hollywood Premier Motel; Los Angeles, CA
 Blind Date, California Institute for the Arts; Valencia, CA (catalogue/publication)
 Terminals: Considering the Present, The University Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine: Irvine, CA
1996  A Living Testament of the Blood Fairies, Artists Space; New York, NY
 Model Home, Institute of Contemporary Art, The Clocktower; New York, NY
 Push / Pause, Randolph Street Gallery; Chicago, IL
 First Person, Marc Foxx; Los Angeles, CA
 Arts' Communities; AIDS' Communities: Realizing the Archive Project, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA
1995  Robert Blanchon and Mary Ellen Carroll, Momenta Art; Brooklyn, NY
 The Cultural Body, Coburn Gallery, Colorado College; Colorado Springs, CO
 Other Rooms, Ronald Feldman Gallery; New York, NY
 Smells Like Vinyl, Roger Merians Gallery; New York, NY
 Pervert, The University Art Gallery, University of California, Irnine; Irnive, CA (catalogue)
 Family Affair: Gay and Lesbian Issues of Domestic Life, Atlanta College of Art Gallery; Atlanta, GA (catalogue)
 Face Foward: Contemporary Self-Portraiture, Kohler Arts Center; Sheboygan, WI (catalogue)
1994 AIDS victim jewelry, Barney's New York holiday windows; Chicago, IL
 Yes I Am / No I'm Not, Momenta Art; Brooklyn, NY
 Telling . . . Stories, Randolph Street Gallery; Chicago, IL
 Camera Obscura / Obscura Camera, Betty Rymer Gallery, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, IL
1993  Contacts / Proofs, Jersey City Museum; Jersey City, NJ
 The Return of the Cadavre Exquis, The Drawing Center; New York, NY
 in-flux, Gallery 400, School of Art and Design, Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago; Chicago, IL
 Day Without Art, State of Illinois Art Gallery; Chicago, IL
 Oral Interpretation, The Optic Society; New York, NY
1992  Private / Public, Betty Rymer Gallery, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, IL
 Re-Imagining America: A Project for Democracy, Randolph Street Gallery; Chicago, IL
 The Anonymous Museum; Chicago, IL
 From America's Studio: Drawing New Conclusions, Betty Rymer Gallery, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, IL (catalogue)
1991  Selections / Fall '91, The Drawing Center; New York, NY
 Just Good Art, Hyde Park Art Center; Chicago, IL
 Louder, Gallery 400, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Chicago; Chicago, IL
1990  Crisp and Clean, Hyde Park Art Center; Chicago, IL
 The Royal Academy: Out Bigoted Past, MFA Thesis Show, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, IL
1989  Conceptual / Installations, State of Illinois Art Gallery; Chicago, IL
 AIDS: Responsible and Responding, Axe Street Arena; Chicago, IL

Public Project, Videos, Performance Events, Curatorial Projects, and Artist Publications

2000 "[Untitled]" and "personal business card no. 3 / final draft /accepted / 1995,"  Ten by Ten: Space for Visual Culture 1, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2000): 27, 33
1998  mourning, video/4:00/color/black and white/stereo
1997  Bed-in for Peace With-in, performance at the Hollywood Premiere with Kelly Martin
Robert Blanchon @ Side Street Projects, October 22, 1997 Screening, discussion  i can't live in a world without love, 16 mm/2:00/color
1996  [never realized] 4 opportunistic infections for public viewing and consumption, 16 pp/non-fiction, distributed to the public for no charge
 caliber (the morning after), video/2:19/bw/stereo
 Testimonial: The Cultural Production of Death, website exhibition curated by Constance Samaras
"Fair as Gum,"  Grand Larceny 3 (1996): 6-7
 Dedication: In Memory of John Francis Blanchon 1957-1990, 10 pp.
 Detours '96: An International Exhibition of Visual Artists Who Write and Writers Who Make Visual Art, International Artists' Writing and Reading Room, Side Street Projects; Santa Monica, CA
1995  let's just kiss + say good-bye, video/9:00/color/bw/stereo
New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Joseph Papp Public Theater, New York
Queer 101, Zebra Crossing Theater, Chicago
Outfest '95: Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Dallas Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Rochester Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Rochester
Internationales Schwul Lesbisches Filmfestival, Berlin
Out on Film: Atlanta's 8th Annual Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
The 15th Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival
Litigation Pending, Momenta Art, Brooklyn
Artists Television Network, San Francisco
Image and Nation, 8th International Festival of Gay and Lesbian Cinema and Video, Montreal
 Situations 1, 2, 3, video/90:00/color
 1984 Calendar, 1984 Printed Matter 1995 catalogue, inside cover
"Razor Burn,"  Honcho 18, no. 10 (October 1995): 5-13. Photos by John Philips
 Untitled (  Honcho October 1995 cover),  White Columns Update (1995): 22
"Taking Another Look at Awnings," brochure essay for public art project by Jackie Chang
1994  Self-portrait as Mary Patten, editor of  Whitewalls, Whitewalls, "Sweet Sixteen" Anniversary Issue, no. 33-34 (1994): 1
 1984/1994 Mapplethorpe Memorial Calendar Card, Momenta Art unlimited edition
 a wretch like me, guest editor,  Whitewalls no.35 (Fall/Winter 1994); 50 contributors, 110 pp.
 Live, Life, Death, artist project for exhibition catalogue, la Galerie des Photographies, Paris
 Gilbert and George, performance with Mary Ellen Carroll at Wigstock; New York, NY
1993  Cruising New York, project for  Promotional Copy (1993): 94
1992 "the brain as frontier, among others,"  Art Papers 16, no. 1 (January-February 1992): 42-43
1990  Art Against AIDS: One the Road, 50 subway billboards, City of Chicago Transit Authority; Chicago, IL
 I Will Not Get AIDS [Richard Daley], public poster project; Chicago, IL
 Strip, group exhibition curated for N.A.M.E.; Chicago, IL
1989  Honoring Conceptualism: A Suspicious Perception, in  Whitewalls no. 26 (Fall 1990): 27-31, under pseudonym Dolores Boogdanian
 Untitled (The Vogels), unsolicited invitation design and mailing, The Terra Museum of American Art; Chicago, IL
 Teaching

Visiting Artist/Scholar, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Graduate Programs; Spring 1998, Spring 1999
Visiting Artist/Scholar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Fall 1998
Adjunct Faculty, University of California, Irvine; 1995-1997 Awarded University Best Teacher 1996
Adjunct Faculty, California Institute for the Arts; 1995-1997
Adjunct Faculty, Art Center College of Design; 1996
 Visiting Artist Residencies and Lectures

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of California, Irvine
California Institute for the Arts
University of California, Riverside
The Drawing Center, New York City
Side Street Projects, Los Angeles