Graphite on paper
13 3/4 x 11 inches; 34.9 x 27.9 cm
Courtesy of the Estate of Brian Buczak and Ortuzar Projects, New York
Brian Buczak (b. 1954 Detroit, d. 1987 New York) was a writer, artist, and publisher active in New York and most closely linked to Fluxus activities along with his partner, artist Geoffrey Hendricks. This drawing portrays a clean-cut man wearing a jacket and tie faced with a much hairier naked man resembling his ancestor or perhaps his shadow, repressed, or uncivilized self. Buczak’s interest in advertising graphic design and appropriation, a fundamental feature of his 1980s paintings, is evident here as the man and his relaxed pose are taken from a fashion ad. Buczak worked as an AV technician at corporate presentations and much of his work appropriates projected source imagery that he had reproduced as slides. The drawn box underneath the figures is emptied of its typical commercial language, prompting the viewer to fill in the blanks.
He links his queerness with a notion of a multi-dimensional self. Employing a variety of painting styles, he reinterprets childhood textbook illustrations, 19th century academic painting, biology, pornography, advertising, news media and other found imagery, creating a symbolic iconography that in his words was a “search for accidental significance.”
In 1977, the same year this drawing was made, Buczak and his partner, the artist Geoffrey Hendricks created the “Money For Food Press” publishing a variety of artist’s books, collaborations and projects.
MFFP was originally created to expand the practices of its founders’ artwork, which was rooted in Fluxus and Ray Johnson’s New York Correspondence School. The press began with the booklet “Rulers, Ladders and Buckets,” which documented a performance by Buczak and Hendricks at P.S. 1 in 1977. Over the next decade, dozens of publications were produced and distributed that intersected with the practices of New York-based artists such as George Maciunas, Lawrence Wiener, Alison Knowles and Nancy Spero. MFFP remained an essential compliment to Buczak’s painting and post-Fluxus practice until his death from HIV/AIDS and related complications in 1987.
Ortuzar Projects, New York
Other works by Brian Buczak
Brian Melamed, Brian Buczak Archive