Jordan Eagles

We meet artist Jordan Eagles to mark World Aids Day 2023. For 25 years, Eagles (b. 1977) has been exploring the aesthetics and ethics of blood as an artistic medium since the late 1990s. He lives and works in New York City and we were lucky to visit his studio in Brooklyn and were lucky enough to have our portraits taken by Jordan, within one of his projections.

Exploring the visual power, and cultural uses of blood, are the central tenets of Eagle's practice, which includes painting, sculpture, installation, photography and public programming. Created with animal blood from slaughterhouses, the work address themes of corporeality, spirituality, and regeneration. The preservation technique permanently retains the organic material’s natural colors, patterns, and textures. When lit, the works become translucent and luminous, reflecting the many layers suspended throughout the resin, revealing the blood’s visceral properties and energy. More politically motivated series, rendered from donated human blood—procured from the LGBTQI+ community—are utilized to advocate for fair blood donation policies, anti-stigma, and equality.

We discuss his major museum solo show ONE BLOOD currently on display at Springfield Art Museum, Missouri until February 18, 2024. Blood is frequently associated with violence and death, yet it is a critical life-force universal to all humanity. In an era of mass shootings, war, disease, and the urgent struggle over body autonomy and LGBTQI+ rights, blood is a symbolic connective tissue – often sensationalized – its visceral power is undeniable. 

Over the past decade, Eagles has built an expansive body of work focused on challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) blood donation policy, which advocates suggest is biased, perpetuates stigma and homophobia, and is not in line with modern science. Eagles’ sculptures, panels, screen-prints, photographic and video works are collaborations created with blood donated by members of the LGBTQI+ community, specifically for the purpose of making artworks and advocating for science and equality. 

Eagles utilizes a broad range of techniques in his work and his preservation process retains the natural patterns, colors, and textures of the organic material. Most of the blood in this exhibition is preserved, including sculptures and panels made with medical waste and archival material. 

The title of his solo exhibition, ONE BLOOD, references that despite the different backgrounds and serotypes of the blood donors, they are all united for blood equality. The exhibition features the work Blood Mirror, a large resin sculpture made with 59 individual human blood donations, that could have been used for life saving purposes if the FDA’s policy was more fair. For the first time, key works from several of the artist’s series that connect queer blood with American pop culture, comic books, military propaganda, and religious iconography are on view together. The exhibition also includes new works from Eagles’ latest series utilizing Artificial Intelligence.

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Learn about the Elton John AIDS Foundation's work. Since 1992, they are one of the leading independent AIDS organisations in the world helping to end the AIDS epidemic:

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