martedì 1 dicembre 2015

Where Are the Archives of AIDS- and HIV-Related Art in the US?

In awareness of and solidarity with World AIDS Day, I thought it would be useful to list key archives in the United States that document art practices and work linked to AIDS and artists living with HIV. A handful of US arts organizations and libraries contain these important collections of aesthetic production. They are important because they historicize and help us make sense of how the onset of AIDS has inflected our thinking about the human body as a sign and a material fact, as well as our understanding of the relations between private lives and politics, pleasure and desire, plus of course mortality.
The largest and most comprehensive collection is owned by the organization Visual AIDS, which was founded in 1988 and lists itself as “the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS awareness and creating dialogue around HIV issues today.” Visual AIDS produces a variety of art projects, exhibitions, public forums, and publications, and also provides material assistance to artists living with HIV or AIDS. They are perhaps best known for their ongoing international program Day Without Art, which was launched on December 1, 1989. On that day, thousands of arts institutions and organizations around the world shrouded works and replaced them with information on HIV and safer sex. (In 1998, for its 10th anniversary, Day Without Art became Day With(out) Art, to emphasize the inclusion of art projects focused on AIDS.)
The Visual AIDS Archive Project, begun in 1994 by David Hirsh and Frank Moore, essentially consists of two arms: the Archive Project and the Artist+ Registry. The former started as a slide and research library to conserve the work of artists with HIV/AIDS. The latter, on online project launched in 2012, consists of digitized versions of many of the original slides held in the Archive Project, as well as new work included by those who became members. 

Visual AIDS claims that the Artist+ Registry and Archive Project together comprise “the largest database and registry o ...

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