From His Estate: James Bidgood Deserves to Live On

James Bidgood died on January 31, 2022, at the age of 88. 

As an artist, Jim’s dreamy, candy-colored world of beautiful boys—so far from the hard-muscled, butch fantasies of Tom of Finland—was a revelation. While much of his work, like his landmark film Pink Narcissus, was created over 50 years ago, Jim remains an inspiration. Jim’s influence can be seen in the work of photographers like David La Chapelle and Pierre & Gilles.  Charli XCX exclaimed how she’s “really obsessed…with James Bidgood.” Olly Alexander called out Pink Narcissus as “amazing. I was so heavily influenced by that video.” And more than a few have cited Jim’s influence on Lil Nas X’s amazing videos. 

Despite his many contributions to queer culture, Jim, like so many of our great gay artists of that time, was impoverished by the end of his life. Working out of his tiny, crowded, rent-stabilized West Village apartment, Jim saved every bolt of fabric, every box of glitter, every can of paint and every piece of paper he came across.  For the last 10 years, Jim rarely left his apartment.  He lived a quiet, frugal life. Unfortunately, Jim was unable to set aside monies to cover his funeral expenses and wind up his affairs. This is why I have started this gofundme page. I need your help in making Jim’s final wishes a reality.

First, his funeral arrangements need to be finalized. Although Jim wished to be buried, he made no funeral arrangements prior to his death. As his executor, I’ve identified a burial site at Cedar Park Cemetery in Hudson, NY, where admirers can come for years to remember both the artist and the man. Working with Bates & Anderson Funeral Services in Hudson, I’ve been told that the cost of transportation, arrangements, burial, headstone, etc, to be $12,000. 

Secondly, in lieu of a funeral, a memorial service will be held in April or May of this year in New York City where his friends and admirers can share their memories of Jim and celebrate his life together in the city that meant so much to him. Such a memorial service will cost approximately $2,500. Everyone who contributes to this GoFundMe page will, among other things, be personally invited to attend.

Finally, we need to preserve his artist contribution. His work is scattered among all his possessions in his small and crowded apartment.  His apartment need to be cleaned and his work needs to be carefully identified, gathered and preserved for future generations. It is estimated that the cost for this preservation work will cost at least$5,500.

The total cost of the funeral, the memorial service and the preservation work will cost approximately $20,000. Please help me implement his final wishes and preserve the legacy of an 20th century artist who contributed to queer culture and inspired future generations of artists.

--- Kelly McKaig, executor, The James Bidgood Estate

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Kelly McKaig
Hudson, NY

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