A thank you letter.

A change of address card.

A polaroid.

An artist statement. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A get well post card that was returned to sender.Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A contact sheet. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A loose page in a sketchbook. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A final page of a syllabus. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

A course proposal. Courtesy of the Estate of Robert Blanchon.

An exhibition invitation postcard displaying a photograph of a dingbat on verso.

An edition notice page of an artist’s book: [never realized] 4 opportunistic infections for public viewing and consumption.

A coffee-stained monograph.

Robert Blanchon was my professor during my first semester in graduate school in 1998. I had moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from Olympia, Washington. He had moved from Los Angeles to be the fall semester artist-in-residence. We continued our correspondence after he returned to California and then moved to Chicago where he died the following year at the age of 33 from AIDS-related illnesses.

I have held on to printed emails from Robert and a small amount of other materials over the past twenty years. I am forever grateful for having met him and have continued to learn from and share his words and work. Last spring I spent time at Fales Library in the Robert Blanchon Papers and Collection which was created by The Estate of Robert Blanchon and Visual AIDS. I documented as much material as possible so that I could reference it later while developing my exhibition at MIT List Visual Arts Center along with a screening of Robert’s videos and a conversation with Mary Ellen Carroll—Robert’s dearest friend, collaborator, and the executor of his estate. All of the above photographs show objects from either Robert’s archive or my own and were selected from what was available on my phone and laptop in May 2020.

Since Robert’s only monograph was published in 2006, I have kept multiple copies so that I’ll always have a spare to give away. The book, which includes his brilliant photographs, sculpture, video, printed matter, and writing, was published by Visual AIDS and is available directly through their website:

Sincerest thanks to Mary Ellen Carroll.

Becca Albee is an artist who was born in Portland, Maine, and is based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA; Situations, New York, NY; Et al., San Francisco, CA; and 356 S. Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA. Her papers are held in the Riot Grrrl Collection at New York University’s Fales Library & Special Collections, and she is currently an Associate Professor of Art at The City College of New York, CUNY.