University of Toronto artist-in-residence AA Bronson has worked alone since his partners in General Idea both died of AIDS in the 1990s. But he is never really alone. As an artist, mentor, and healer, he remains a collaborator. Performance has been his primary medium since the 1990s, specifically as a self-described healer: a role that involves both playacting – attuned to the “sham” in shaman – and real laying on of hands. For his recent exhibition in New York, he collaborated with artists of various generations to produce AA Bronson’s School for Young Shamans.
AA BRONSON performing Butt Massage Demonstration May 12, 2004, showing the installation AA BRONSON*BUTT SPA, 2004. The performance was formatted as a “demonstration” of the artist’s infamous Butt Massage, but included texts relating to the body and trauma, the artist’s experience during five weeks in bed from a herniated disc, various reflections on healing and being healed, and the anus as a site of shame.