The work of
up-and-coming artist Michael Petry, to be featured in a New
York gallery, takes an abstract approach to the U.S. antigay
"don't ask, don't tell" military policy.
installation titled "Monument to an Unknown Soldier:
Portrait of an American Patriot," Petry allegedly
asked a gay American veteran to provide a sperm
sample, which appears to have been splashed on
the flag. The stains were then used as a pattern for
embroidery to be sewn into the flag.
"The soldier must remain unknown or face expulsion
from an Army that was happy to see him serve, and possibly
lose his life, yet not love nor make that love known."
established in 1993, prohibits the military from inquiring
about the sex lives of service members but requires the
discharge of those who acknowledge being gay.
"5star," which features five red, white, and blue
inconspicuous bowls, actually takes its pattern from the
sphincters of gay American porn stars who perform in
"In 2006 real
members of the U.S. Army were imprisoned for consensual
same-sex love, while soldiers who tortured and murdered
Iraqi civilians were merely fined. The work opens
itself to the viewer, yet remains five beautiful
blossoms unaffected by any histories," said Petry.
part-time at the Royal College of Art in London and is a
research fellow at the School of Art and Design at the
University of Wolverhampton, England.
opens Thursday and runs through February 4 at the Sundaram
Tagore Gallery at 547 W. 27th St., New York. (Hassan Mirza,