An Incomplete History of Protest Audio Guide Playlist
“I make revolutionary art to propel history forward. I’m a visual artist.”
Hear directly from artists including Dread Scott, Senga Nengudi, and Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds as they discuss their work in An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017. Listen to additional commentary from curators on selected highlights from the exhibition.
AA Bronson: Starting in the late 60s, in ’69 actually, I started working with two people, Jorge Zontal and Felix Partz in a group, and we called ourselves General Idea.
Narrator: The artist AA Bronson.
AA Bronson: We worked together for twenty-five years, until 1994. That’s the year that both of them died. And this image is taken of Felix, at that moment of his death. In the last few weeks of his life he started surrounding himself with more and more color and pattern. Colored sheets, colored pillows, the clothing he wore. Everything became sort of more and more vivid, in a way more and more full of life. And so I wanted to document that, and I took this picture as he was lying there waiting for the first visitor to arrive.
Now Felix died of wasting. He died of AIDS and the only illness he had was basically wasting away. He had no opportunistic infections. He was very very lucky. But what that meant was that there wasn’t enough flesh left on the body to be able to close his eyes. So that’s why the eyes are open. And you can see around him—really, we, we left him as he was when he died, with his cigarettes at hand, with his channel changer for the television, with his tape recorder, because he wanted to record—the thoughts that went through his head.
In a way I think of the body as a house. It’s a house that we inhabit as if it’s the real world. At night we fall into dreams. And while we’re asleep we think those dreams are the real world too. And really we have no way of judging which is real and which is not. In this world, this world that—we’re unable to judge the reality of this world, I think we have to remember that along with the living, the dead are still with us.
AA Bronson (b. 1946), Felix Partz, June 5, 1994, 1994/1999. Inkjet print on vinyl, 84 x 168 in. (213.4 x 426.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mark J. Krayenhoff van de Leur 2003.268. © 1999 AA Bronson
- 601 Dread Scott, A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday, 2015
- 610 Toyo Miyatake, Untitled (Opening Image from Valediction), 1944
- 611 Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting, 1960-1966
- 620 The Black Emergency Cultural Coalition and Black Artist’s Correspondence
- 621 Senga Nengudi, Internal I, 1977
- 630 War Posters
- 631 Edward Kienholz, The Non War Memorial, 1970
- 650 AA Bronson, Felix Partz, June 5, 1994, 1994/1999
- 660 Carl Pope, Some of the Greatest Hits of the New York City Police Department: A Celebration of Meritorious Achievement in the Community, 1994
- 662 Hock E Aye VI Edgar Heap of Birds, Relocate Destroy, In Memory of Native Americans, In Memory of Jews, 1987
- 670 Daniel Joseph Martinez, Divine Violence, 2007