‘So Gay’ and so good

Bobby Busnach’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Marilyn” is on display through Thursday at BHCC.

Local artist Bobby Busnach has put many men in drag for his work. But it wasn’t until his recent work, “Portrait of The Artist as a Young Marilyn,” that he turned the tables on himself.

“I had never done drag, but since I put mostly straight men in drag and make them feel what it feels like to be something other than a ‘man,’ I thought that I should see what it feels like,” Busnach says.
“Honestly, it was really painful.”

Busnach, a former runaway teen, uses his tale of survival through his work. He was familiar with Marilyn Monroe drag from his work as a makeup artist and saw her as a symbol of personal struggle.

“Marilyn Monroe, to me, is a perfect example of how you can fight and struggle to achieve the American Dream, only to have it snatched out from under you,” he says. “Marilyn had her life stripped away, just like homosexuals and lesbians had our rights stripped away.”

Shaping the show

The inspiration and organization of  “That’s So Gay” came quicker to director Laura Montgomery than past shows. Montgomery hoped to present work addressing the theme of LGBT liberation, politics and identity. With Gay Pride 2011 occurring at the exhibit’s start, Montgomery reached out to artists whose work she knew fit the theme and were out about their sexuality. About 30 local artists fit her ultimate goals for the exhibit.

“Over the years, I have worked with many LGBT artists in various kinds of thematic shows and I thought that we could mount a ‘Pride Show’ to showcase the specific LGBT talent in the metro Boston area,” Montgomery says. “I ‘shape’ the show and curate them, but with a finite amount of artists able to address the theme, the exhibit rather organically formed, given what was submitted.”


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