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Susan Rankaitis, American, b. 9/10/1949
Santa Barbara Paul Monoprint , 1982
Photographic materials on paper
24 x 20 in. (60.96 x 50.8 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Carol Warner
Accession Number: 2013.4.1

Of the work, artist Susan Rankaitis comments:
It is a portrait of my great friend Paul Monette and was made as a birthday present to him. I hadnt known him long when I made that image. I believe that we met in early 1981 but became fast friends.

I did the "Dance of Death" portfolio that a few years later when the AIDS crisis hit. This was made even before my LACMA show.
It is signed en verso by me: "October 16, 1982 Happy Birthday Paul, Love Susan and Robbert" and I titled it "Santa Barbara Paul Monoprint." I seem to recall that I photograhed him when Paul and Roger and Robbert and I were in Santa Barbara together.

Early in my career, I occasionally made portraits of my closest friends, including writer Paul Monette. This portrait of Paul, inscribed “Happy Birthday, Paul, October 16, 1982,” on the back, was a gift for his 37th birthday. Four years after I gave Paul this picture, his life partner and my close friend Roger Horwitz died of AIDS. Shortly thereafter, Paul published Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir, an important book about Roger’s struggle and the AIDS epidemic. While this portrait was made from a “party picture” that I took of Paul, I also photographed him nude, with a view camera, in our Inglewood studio as the central figure for work that I did on the AIDS crisis throughout the 1980s, including The Rog Chant. In December 1991, Paul and I created a collaborative installation at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, for the first Day Without Art for AIDS. In 1992, Paul Monette won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story. In 1995, Paul died of AIDS, but his voice lives on through his books and his papers, which are housed at the Charles E. Young Research Library at UCLA. Carol Warner’s late mother acquired this portrait of Paul from the auction of his estate. I am grateful for Carol’s donation of the monoprint to the Scripps College collection; it reminds me of our close friendship at a time when we were as yet unaware of the looming crisis that destroyed the lives of so many people, including some of the world’s finest artists, writers, musicians, and dancers. Susan Rankaitis Fletcher Jones Chair in Studio Art, Scripps College

Artist wrote on the back of the work: October 16, 1982 Happy Birthday Paul, Love Susan and Robbert

It is a unique multiple image printed photographic monoprint on Ilford glossy photographic paper

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