Art AIDS America ran from December 1, 2016 (World AIDS Day) through April 2, 2017, at the Alphawood Gallery in Chicago. We wish to express our deep gratitude to the thousands of people who visited this remarkable exhibition, as well as the many people and institutions that helped make it possible. Please explore our Exhibition website, which is preserved here. Among many other resources, the website contains video documentation of some of the extraordinary programs that took place over the course of the exhibition.
A catalogue of the Chicago version of Art AIDS America will be published later in 2018. This will be a companion volume to the original catalogue published by Tacoma Art Museum and the University of Washington Press, and will highlight the additional works added for the Chicago presentation as well as the extensive programming organized by Alphawood Gallery during the exhibition.
During much of the 20th century, death was a private and comparatively silent event. However, during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s, a politicized resurgence of highly visible and public acts of mourning emphasized the body ravaged by the virus. In some ways, these practices paralleled the public and material mourning practices of the nineteenth century. By juxtaposing objects and artworks related to mourning from the Victorian Era—intricately woven hairworks and ornate brooches kept as bodily relics of the deceased—and during the AIDS crisis, Keep the Shadow examines two analogous cultures of bereavement. The exhibition proposes that these historical periods uniquely relied on the materiality of the individual body, and items associated with it, as relics in order to grapple with mortality and persevere in the face of death. Curated by 2015-16 Block Museum Graduate Fellow, C.C. McKee.
Artists in the exhibition include Eric Avery, Félix González-Torres, David Grieger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Richard Mock, Domingo Orejudos, Andres Serrano and Leonard Rifas