Radiant Presence

Art

12.1.2015

Keith Haring, Rene Santos & Others Immortalized For Worlds AIDS Day

Today, December 1st, marks the 26th anniversary of A Day Without Art, a tribute to AIDS’ decimating effect on the art world. Beginning in 1989, galleries and artists stripped their walls of art, removed every frame and canvas, and used the empty white walls to commemorate the loss of so many artists, and creative force. This year, in a powerful commemoration to World AIDS Day, Visual AIDS is pairing up with nine curators and artists to bring visual memorials to New York, San Francisco, and Miami.

The visual project, featured above, is sponsored by The Illuminator, a political art group infamous for staging public exhibitions that disrupt the daily flow of life. The short video features a sequence of art, centered around AIDS, interwoven with a written narrative on the disease.  Viewings will be held in highly visible parts of each respective city, drawing the eyes of people passing by. The collective project hopes to rattle its audience and drive attention to its most fundamental campaign: the unsolved problem of AIDS. Artnet reports on the campaign for awareness.

A Day Without Art
A Day Without Art

The video, titled RADIANT PRESENCE, is a tribute to artists who’ve passed away from AIDS. Art from Felix Golzales-Torres, Peter Hajur, Shan Kelly, and Ray Navarro, as well as artists that continue to battle against AIDS today, appear in the video. Alongside the images, the narrative cites the illness as both a source of inspiration and a stigma. Many of the featured slides, like David Wojnarowicz’s Untitled (1990), speak to this stigma, and the inability to talk about AIDS. His untitled 1990 photograph of stitched lips make the pain of this isolation visceral, and the harsh reality of a fragmented community painfully apparent.

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (1990)
David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (1990)

Shan Kelley’s With Curators Like These Who Needs a Cure points to issues of continued relevancy. Kelly’s work shows that an honest discussion about AIDS is not a cure, it’s a start. An image in a gallery is a representation, not a solution. The dialogue must be carried through in continued discussion to de-stigmatize the disease and increase medical research.

Shan Kelly, With Curators Like These Who Needs a Cure (2015)
Shan Kelly, With Curators Like These Who Needs a Cure (2015)

Each curator also created web galleries, which include pieces from Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Rene Santos. While navigating through the galleries, you can scroll through each artist’s work, bios, and histories.

Keith Haring, Silence = Death (1989)
Keith Haring, Silence = Death (1989)
Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1976
Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, 1976

Due to the weather in New York City, the viewing will be postponed until Friday.

Images via Artnet, Visual Aids, Pinterest.

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