Keith Mayerson

Skeleton Man

This was a drawing from my graduate school days at the University of California, Irvine, when many of my teachers were in the famous "gender-identity" Whitney 1993 Biennial, at the time of that great exhibition. Although he was grateful to be included, my professor Lair Pittman exclaimed that he liked are that "invited the viewer to think for themselves rather than to tell people what to think", and although most of the Biennial works were like this, it was music to my young queer ears, as many were stilling dying from the AIDS crises. I was both terrified but also enthralled with my gay identity, and still coming out, fearful of contracting HIV but also empowered and emboldened by the owning of the agency of my sexuality. Hopefully both comedy and tragedy in its way are depicted here—this was a drawing my husband and I have lived with on our walls since its inception, and the Day of the Dead celebratory mode may outweigh the fear of its inception, but also as a memento mori reminder of our own mortality.