Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day 2011

Day With(out) Art poster #2, 1998
image via

Today is World AIDS Day, originally started by W.H.O. in 1988 as a way to raise AIDS awareness. A year later, Visual AIDS created a Day Without Art, where "...some 800 U.S. art and AIDS groups...[shut] down museums, sending staff to volunteer at AIDS services, or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS." Because where there is art, there are homosexuals and the creative communities of New York and California were hit first and hardest. This action was meant to serve as a call-to-action, "...symbolizing what would happen if AIDS wiped out the arts community."

video still from Untitled

This year, to recognize the 30th anniversary of AIDS, Visual AIDS will be distributing Untitled, a film by Jim Hodges, Encke King, and Carlos Marques da Cruz. Art organizations and museums across the country will be screening this film. You can catch it at 2 places in Washington: Tacoma Art Museum and The Magic Lantern Theatre in Spokane.
Beginning with a reflection on the early AIDS epidemic, Untitled eschews a linear narrative to introduce a fractious timeline, moving from the sublime to the tragic and back again. By juxtaposing mainstream network news, activist footage, artists' works, and popular entertainment from the last turbulent decades, Untitled references regimes of power that precipitated a generation of AIDS and queer activism and continues today with international struggles for freedom and expression. 

And for what it's worth, I'd like to take a minute to give my personal thanks to Tacoma Art Museum (especially Rock Hushka and Stephanie Stebich) for having the courage to bring HIDE/SEEK to the Northwest. Out of any regionally museum, they have the most to lose by doing this and yet they're willing to take a risk for art. I'm so amazed and REALLY, REALLY, REALLY thankful! HIDE/SEEK opens March 17th, 2012.

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