Buzz Slutzky

Overland Park, Kansas, 1988

Buzz Slutzky makes sculptures, videos, writings and drawings to question with humor the idea of the true self, as a response to the experience of being misgendered. Slutzky’s research-based projects reimagine historical figures in new time periods, mixing fiction and nonfiction. Identity construction and transgender embodiment are also important themes in Slutzky’s work, addressed through comedic personal narratives and unlikely juxtapositions. In 2013, Justin Bieber wrote in the Anne Frank House guest book, “hopefully she would’ve been a belieber.” For Off Pink, Slutzky created an installation called Justin Bieber’s Anne Frank House, which layers the years 1943 and 2013. A drawing component of the installation references the actual images Anne Frank stuck to her bedroom walls in the Secret Annexe; these images, which Anne Frank clipped from magazines, are probably what led the Justin Bieber to “belieb” that he was Anne Frank’s heartthrob. Religious Beliebs is a narrative video/animation that mixes fan fiction with quotes from both Anne Frank’s diary and Justin Bieber’s songs to imagine what a relationship between the two might be like, and what they would say over pizza. This project questions the cultural representation of Anne Frank as an innocent little girl despite her deep intellect and sexual maturity, which is emphasized against Justin Bieber’s hyper-sexualization and troubled personal identity. Both figures are highly constructed in our media and culture, and no one can know who they “truly” are.

Buzz Slutzky was raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. In 2010, they moved to Brooklyn, came out as transgender, and became involved in New York’s queer art and downtown performance scenes. That year, Slutzky also co-curated the first Pop Up Museum of Queer History exhibition. In 2013, Slutzky attended the Six Points Fellowship’s Asylum International Jewish Artist Retreat.