The Bob Mizer Foundation is pleased to welcome Edward Rossa, the new Media Co-ordinator for the newly re-launched Physique Pictorial. Edward has a very interesting background in the arts. He sat down with us for a quick interview. Please welcome him to our team.
Hey Edward. Let’s start simply. Who are you, how old are you and what is it that you do for The Bob Mizer Foundation?
I’m Edward Rossa. I’m twenty-nine years old, I live in New York City and I was just taken on as the media content coordinator for The Bob Mizer Foundation. Which really means I’m the guy behind The Foundation’s daily posts on Instagram and Facebook and most other forms of social media. So, essentially, I’m lucky guy that scrolls through our digital archive every day and curates which photographs are posted on our feed. My husband jokes and says that what I get to do is look through vintage photographs of cute boys all the time.
He’s not wrong, but there’s more to it than that.
It’s also my job to promote the newest volumes of the newly re-launched Physique Pictorial. Along with The Foundations new retail coordinator Mark Smith, I make sure the Pictorial has a physical presence in brick and mortar stores as well as an online presence through blogs, social media and various news sites. I also help promote things like our launch event for the new volume in New York. Happening October 6th at the Bureau of General Services- Queer Division from six to eight. Come out and see us there!
How did you first learn about The Bob Mizer Foundation? What interests you about his work and legacy?
I’ve known about Bob Mizer’s work for a long time. My undergraduate degree is actually in art history and I’m currently working through the last semester of my master’s degree in the same field. More specifically, I chose to focus my studies on queer art history of the twentieth century. So obviously, in my research of that I’ve become very familiar with Mizer’s photographic work and, early on, began to understand how important it is to this notion of a queer history in the twentieth century.
One could easily say he was one of the major influences of queer art being made after World War II. Artists like Warhol and Mapplethorpe really owe a lot of what they used as subject matter in their works to the pioneering vision of Bob Mizer.
So, when I saw that The Foundation was looking for someone to take on this position, I jumped at the chance. Just thinking, “I’d really love to be a part of the organization whose work is to perpetuate a legacy that I very much respect and admire.”
What do you consider to be Bob Mizer’s legacy and how do you see yourself helping The Foundation further that?
What I consider as Mizer’s legacy would be, as our mission statement states, “…celebrating the power of controversial photography”. But even more than that I think it’s creating a platform of visibility for Bob’s images to be seen by the public and enjoyed and reflected upon. To learn something from them. I think the work we do with Physique Pictorial does exactly that. Also, I think one of the more important parts of the quarterly is that we showcase the works of artists that we consider to be working in the same kind of trajectory that Bob worked. That being, more often than not, queer artists whose work would otherwise not have a platform to be seen within or would otherwise be subject to censorship.
These are issues that have always been very important to me personally, so I consider myself lucky to have found a intern position in an organization that shares these values.
What I consider as Mizer’s legacy would be, as our mission statement states, “…celebrating the power of controversial photography”. But even more than that I think it’s creating a platform of visibility for Bob’s images to be seen by the public and enjoyed and reflected upon. To learn something from them.
How would you like to see your work with The Bob Mizer Foundation evolve?
I would like to help The Foundation achieve more of a visible presence within the fine art world as a whole. It would be great to have the archives utilized more by museums and fine art galleries--for exhibitions that involve Mizer’s work. The Foundation has already done a fantastic job of setting up shows with major galleries; I’d really like to help with that if I could as well.
My goal after graduate school is to focus on curation, and I have a long list of emerging artists I’m interested in exhibiting who’s work is in close conversation Mizer’s. And I would like to help further define the influence Bob’s; to keep it foremost in the cultural Zeitgeist.