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Thursday, May 7, 2015

VIVA Records: Art and Reception

      "Viva Records, Lesbian and Gay Latino Artist of Los Angles" by Robb Hernandez recounts a history of its archives, which chronicles the origin, art, and the foundation of the organization. Its foundation was made by the artists who "split [the income] between the artists and the organization" (32). What I found interesting is that each item that was sold had some style that signified the artist, which was sold during the annual Feliz Navidad Espectáculo. They also held museum trips to the Getty. While seemingly bohemian and counterculture, VIVA "encouraged an aesthetic reverence for European art"(58). Such interests led to the discovery that art can be empowering. However, VIVA's attempt into adapting art as a vehicle for LGBTIQ empowerment backfired when the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) claimed that "gay and lesbian artwork was pornographic, morally corrupt, and harmful to American families" (68).
       What I find fascinating about this claim is that mainstream art is full of homosexual subjects. Take, for instance, the Getty Villa which has a section devoted to athletes and pederasty of antiquity. What is interesting to note about this change of view in "mainstream" art is that their opinions changed during the AIDS epidemic. Would the reception of LGBTIQ art then be received differently had it not coincided with the AIDS epidemic?

1 comment:

  1. Such a great and important point, Harold.. I think the two are inseparable. the political climate was as much responsible for AIDS as AIdS was for the conservative climate but the backlash and the treatment gay people received as a result of the epidemic was crushing and deadly; especially when you consider the hope of the the post-stonewall era of sexual liberation. Fascinating stuff.