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NEGATIVITY IS UNAMERICAN

ART IS UNAMERICAN

ART SHOULD ANNOUNCE ITSELF WHEN IT IS HAPPENING!

PARODY IS IMMORAL

MEAT IS NORMAL

ART IS ILLNESS (WHEN NOT IN A MUSEUM)

EVERYTHING IS NORMAL

PRETENDING IS IMMORAL

EVERY ARTIST IS AN IMMORAL DISASTER

AMBIGUITY IS UNAMERICAN

IT IS LUNCHTIME FOREVER

EAT AT GAY ARBYS OR ELSE


Digital art. GAY ARBYS (parody) logo.

ARTIST STATEMENT

GAY ARBYS (2023)

MULTIMEDIA INSTALLATION / PERFORMANCE


photography, digital art, custom stickers, social media posts (Twitter, Bluesky, Instagram), collage, graffiti, Arby’s merchandise, acrylic paint and canvas, various Arby’s locations


GAY ARBYS (2023) was a collaborative conceptual art installation that took place on Twitter, at dozens of Arby’s restaurant locations across the U.S. South, and a handful of Arby’s locations abroad. The first GAY ARBYS post was made on May 24, 2023. Not wanting my face to become an ad for Airgami (without my compensation or consent), I captioned my masked selfie: “EAT AT ARBYS.” I assumed the company whose product I wore would not repurpose this weird post. Nonetheless, Airgami retweeted it. In this way, GAY ARBYS was born.


Driving solo across 1,000 miles of the US to seek healthcare from (unmasked) specialists at Mayo Clinic, I stopped at just about every highway-adjacent Arby’s between Texas and Jacksonville, Florida. Armed with custom stickers, an Arby’s cup, and my Android phone, I photographed 20+ Arby’s locations, tweeting occasional updates as the CEO of GAY ARBYS and urging “gay patriots” to “EAT INDOORS.” Midway through the project, on June 13, my Twitter account was permanently suspended for allegedly violating the site’s parody rules. My new account, @RealGayArbys, was then heavily censored by Twitter.


GAY ARBYS began as a statement about the absurdity of indoor dining during an ongoing airborne pandemic, about the corporate co-optation of Pride, about the unsustainability of the restaurant industry model/consumerism, and the insanity I feel as a disabled person trying to survive in such a society. Other artists joined in and made their own posts on these themes (or placed stickers). As the project went on, GAY ARBYS morphed into a statement about my own unrelenting objectification, the refusal of mainstream artists to discuss Covid, my alienation from former friends and colleagues, the decay of the American landscape, censorship, fascism, obsession, nostalgia, Christianity, and violence. On the last day of the Twitter portion, the Supreme Court protected the ‘right to discriminate’ against queer Americans. In response, GAY ARBYS briefly became NORMAL ARBYS, declaring gayness no longer cool.


The obsessive stickering is intended to inform, while also serving as a commentary on what behaviors are deemed “normal” and which are “insane.” In current American society, I am behaving crazily, by continuing to mask and skip crowded events. To the people around me, I have become less human and less real. I have left the bounds of acceptable behavior. My rare moments of anger, my politics, and my disabilities have cast me out of normalcy. I see no path back. But I refuse to remain neatly out of sight.



DIGITAL ART. GAY ARBYS (parody) LOGO.

ROAST BEEF MANIFESTO COMING SOON. FOLLOW @REALGAYARBYS FOR UPDATES.


THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN GREATLY INFLUENCED BY THE FOLLOWING ARTISTS


JENNY HOLZER

JACQUES DERRIDA

THE PRICEMASTER

BARBARA KRUGER

PAOLA PIVI

DENNIS COOPER

CHELSEY MINNIS

EL ANATSUI

PXNZISCHEMES

INVASIVE HAMMERHEAD WORM

SOL LEWITT

STEPHANIE POWERS

ISABEL DEL RIO

AFROMAN

DONALD BARTHELME

DAMIEN HIRST

EVERY GRAFFITI ARTIST

JAMES REHWALD

AMY ALLEN

ERIC ANDRE

JOE WENDEROTH

JOE BIDEN

ACT UP


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