Brendan Fernandes, Free Fall 49
Brendan Fernandes, Free Fall 49, featuring How To Dress Well
Friday Flights, June 16, 2017
J. Paul Getty Museum
Artist Brendan Fernandes presented Free Fall 49, a dance, sculptural installation, and performance wherein dancers fall 49 times, once for every victim of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016. Musician How To Dress Well intervened as DJ, punctuating the evening with moments of silence.
Free Fall 49 engages the falling body as a metaphor for queer politics in an attempt to understand brutality and offer sanctuary. It acts as a memorial to the targeted men and women at Pulse, whose appearance and culture were at a charged intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation. They are remembered one year later, as bodies of difference remain war zones between political control and freedom of expression. Here the metaphor of falling includes the perseverance of getting back up, and defiance in the face of perceived defeat.
Brendan Fernandes is a Canadian artist of Kenyan and Indian descent. He completed the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007) and earned his MFA from the University of Western Ontario (2005) and his BFA from York University in Canada (2002). Fernandes has exhibited widely domestically and abroad, including exhibitions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal; The National Gallery of Canada, Ontario; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam among several others. Fernandes is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
Los Angeles-based R&B pop musician How To Dress Well is known for his critically acclaimed emotional, nostalgic, and soulful sound, evolved through four major albums on Lefse, Weird World, and Domino Records, among other recordings, three times being named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork.
All photos: J. Paul Getty Trust, Sarah Waldorf and Tristan Bravinder