Robert Blanchon

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Robert Blanchon (1965–1999) was an American artist born in Foxboro, Massachusetts. His conceptual artworks often dealt with histories of American Conceptual Art, the politics of AIDS and representations of queer sexuality.

Blanchon attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1984 to 1989, earning both a BFA and a MFA. While in Chicago, Blanchon was an active participant in the non-profit art scene, curating exhibitions at N.A.M.E. gallery, contributing to Tony Tasset, et al.'s artist project Anonymous Museum, and designing a poster for the City of Chicago's billboard campaign Art Against AIDS: On the Road.[1]

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.[1]

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 + 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.[1]

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.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Visual AIDS Books - Robert Blanchon". The Body. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 

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