"The Bimbo Is Smoking," 1992
mixed media, variable
Courtesy of the estate of Robert Blanchon
About the artist: Like many of his contemporaries, Blanchon grappled with the legacies of minimalism and modernism, the relation between politics and art, and his identification as a gay HIV-positive artist who nonetheless eschewed identity politics. Blanchon's works are marked by a witty, insightful treatment of loss, memory and morality shown primarily through photography but also extending to video, mail art and performance. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1999 at the age of 34.
Why we chose this piece: We were amazed at the full, complex story told by this still-life photo. Looking at the various articles inside the suitcase in the piece gives the viewer windows into the past, present and future of the man shown above, reminding us of how each of our lives is composed of myriad pieces, only one of which is a positive serostatus.