BOMMER, John Murphy II



Give Up Now or Wait and See What's Coming
resist and photograph
37in. x 30 1/2in.
UCSB alumnus John Bommer received his MFA in painting in 1983 and while in school was a teaching assistant in the Film and Media Studies Department. Gary H. Brown, who was his partner, mentor and friend, described his work in an exhibition catalog as entailing many different styleshe was always experimentingthough the one constant is the common thread of language...Etymology, signs, linguistics, film and semiology were a deep part of John's life and work. Give Up Now or Wait and See Whats Coming (1985) combines Bommers interests in film and language with his alarm at the AIDS epidemic ravaging the nation and the gay community in particular. The title, written across the composition, is a spirited message of support to everyone affected by the AIDS crisis to carry on in the hope that treatments or a cure might be found. Bommer reminds one that giving up only leads to dire circumstances as evidenced by the Collaged image of the train bearing down on the man and woman who stand seemingly helpless on the tracks rather than moving out of the way. His work was among the earliest to address AIDS in art, a consequence, no doubt, of seeing his own friends in pain. A year after this was completed, Bommer was diagnosed with an AIDS-related illness and died nine months later in Santa Barbara tended by Brown. Throughout those months, Bommer was true to the message in this work as he remained optimistic, brave and ever thankful to friends and family for the love and support they gave him.




BOMMER, John Murphy II
United States, 1957- 1986


Gift of Gary H. Brown




BOMMER, John Murphy II and United States, 1957- 1986, “BOMMER, John Murphy II,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed May 25, 2024,