Tiona Nekkia McClodden The Brad Johnson Tape, X – On Subjugation 2017

  • Not on view

This installation summons the presence of Brad Johnson (American, 1952–2011), a Black gay poet whose “embrace of violence, sex, cruising, and, more importantly, his investment in love” shaped his work, McClodden writes. To make the installation, the artist, who saw her own experience reflected in Johnson’s writings, immersed herself in the poet’s archive. She has filled the gallery with objects that relate to his biography and sexuality: rose petals, naval paraphernalia, and leather objects used in BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism) play, among other items.

In the central video, McClodden hangs upside down in her studio while reciting “On Subjugation,” a 1988 poem by Johnson. “For me, the experience of pain through BDSM has often been a form of self-care that lets me know where I can and cannot go with my body,” McClodden says. “This is important to me in a society that . . . places such severe restrictions on the Black body.” Using her figure as a medium, she pays tribute to Johnson’s ideas in the present.

Gallery label from 2022
High-definition video (black and white, sound; 2:24 min.); projection screen with wood, hooks, chains, leather harness, rope, gold Dr. Martens boots, shirt, and dried rose petals; inkjet print with electrical tape; book, leather belt, leather jacket, urinal mat, steel, rope, sailor hat, naval quick release pin, operation specialist badge, naval jump rope, military tassels, and deer pelt; white Dr. Martens boots, leather harness, rope, dried roses, and twine; framed digital chromogenic color print with brown paper, framed photograph, cut lock, leather, and stockings; four digital chromogenic color prints with glass, rope, and bubble wrap; army hat, wolf pelt, mirror, peephole, chain mail, razor blade, urinal mounts, incense cones, stools, books, rubber mask, microphone, ball gag, naval and army medallions, and tent poles
Dimensions variable
Gift of Jill and Peter Kraus
Object number
© 2024 Tiona Nekkia McClodden. Courtesy of the artist
Media and Performance

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