November 5 is a national holiday in the UK, commemorating Guy Fawks' failed attack on the Parliament House, in London. But today, the British capital became the stage of a different kind of celebration.
Displayed as a billboard-size image, the picture of Brooklyn-based artists Dan Colen and Kalup Linzy sharing a kiss, naked, in front of the Statue of Liberty, was unveiled on the city's London Bridge. "We feel it is our birthright to love without oppression or racism, things that have historically separated us," commented the two artists. "I think Kalup and I had a synchronised, inspired moment," Colen added.
The work, entitled "Sweet Liberty", hopes to disrupt familiar issues of identity politics and instead represent romance in its rawest, most rudimentary form.
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Dan Colen & Kalup Linzy, "Sweet Liberty", 2014
Dan Colen, who's straight, is part of the new scene of New York contemporary artist. In 2007, he appeared on the cover of New York magazine with Ryan McGinley and Dash Snow. The profile piece, written by Ariel Levy, stated that the fact McGinley is gay makes no difference to "avidly straight" Colen and Snow: "They don't care about sexual orientation, they care about sex", Levy wrote (read the story here). Colen's last piece sold for $3.1 million.
Performance artist Kalup Linzy is openly gay, and better known for his powerful video works which satirize TV soap operas, and usually feature him dressed in drag, lip-synching to his heavily manipulated pre-recorded vocals. In 2008, he released a full-length album, recording a music video for each song (take that, Beyonce!). He was also invited by James Franco to make a cameo on the ABC soap General Hospital.
Kalup and Colen's image will be exhibited for all to see in London until November 20. A collaborative photographic edition of 50 prints from both artists is also available. More information at anninarts.com