06 Oct


Local Additions to Art AIDS America Chicago Roster

(CHICAGO) October 4, 2016 Art AIDS America Chicago puts its own stamp on a national touring exhibition with the addition of important works by Chicago talents, many of color, including Roger Brown, Doug Ischar, Patric McCoy, Michael Qualls (1961-2005), Oliverio (Oli) Rodriguez, Danny Sotomayor (1958-2011), and Israel Wright. Working in concert with the original curators of Art AIDS America, also newly added to the Chicago roster specifically are works by Nan Goldin, Barbara Kruger and African American activist artist Howardena Pindell. 

Art AIDS America Chicago is the local – and largest – iteration of the groundbreaking national exhibition which underscores the deep and unforgettable presence of HIV in American art.  The above artists’ contributions will be among 140+ significant contemporary works on display, which also includes Eric Avery, Robert Blanchon, Judy Chicago, and Karen Finley – Midwestern natives who’ve been represented in the exhibition since its inception. They join other previously announced artists including Chloe Dzubilo, Robert Gober, Félix González-Torres, Keith Haring, Derek Jackson, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kiki Smith, Joey Terrill, David Wojnarowicz and Martin Wong.  Also, reflective of the collegial nature of Chicago’s visual arts scene and the importance of the contribution Art AIDS America will make, both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago will be collaborating in the presentation here.

Art AIDS America concludes its U.S. tour here at the newly created Alphawood Gallery (2401 North Halsted Street, Chicago) opening on World AIDS Day, Thursday, December 1, 2016, continuing through Sunday, April 2, 2017. This temporary space has been created in a former bank by the Chicago-based Alphawood Foundation to bring the exhibition to its only Midwest venue. 

Said Anthony (Tony) Hirschel, the director of Alphawood Exhibitions, “In bringing Art AIDS America to Chicago, we have worked very hard, in concert with those who originated the exhibition, to include a wider and more inclusive representation of work by women, artists of color, and artists native to Chicago. Some spectacular loans have been added, appearing only in Chicago’s presentation of the exhibition.”

“Alphawood Exhibitions is also planning to present a selection of activist materials from the height of the AIDS crisis that can deepen visitors’ understanding of the context out of which the art on view emerged,” Hirschel continued.  “Chicago cultural institutions and advocacy organizations have embraced the effort and offered enormous support. It is gratifying to be working with so many wonderful allies across the city and region.”

Added Art AIDS America Co-Curator and Director, Visual Studies Doctoral Program at the University at Buffalo Jonathan Katz, “With the representation of several significant Chicago artists of color and the sheer scope of space that the Alphawood Gallery has committed, truly the Chicago exhibition is THE definitive Art AIDS America showcase. And given my history of study and activism in Chicago, I couldn’t be prouder to be culminating it here.”  


About Art AIDS America

This is the first exhibition to explore how the AIDS crisis forever changed American art. Since the first reports of mysterious illnesses in the early 1980s, HIV and AIDS have touched nearly every American in some way, and operated as an undeniable, though often unacknowledged, force in shaping politics, medicine, culture and society. While acknowledging and honoring the enormous anger, loss and grief generated by the epidemic, the exhibition refutes the narrative that AIDS is only a tragic tangent in American art. Instead, Art AIDS America offers a story of resilience and beauty revealed through the visual arts, and of the communities that gathered to bring hope and change in the face of a devastating disease.  


The Alphawood Foundation, a Chicago-based, grant-making private foundation working for an equitable, just and humane society, is proudly presenting Art AIDS America here.  Each year the Foundation awards grants to organizations, primarily in the areas of advocacy, architecture and preservation, the arts and arts education, promotion and protection of the rights of LGBT citizens and people living with HIV/AIDS, and other human and civil rights.

Exhibition Credits

The exhibition was originally organized by Tacoma Art Museum in partnership with The Bronx Museum of the Arts, where it will be on display until September 25, 2016.  The exhibition is co-curated by Jonathan Katz and Rock Hushka, chief curator and curator of contemporary and Northwest art at Tacoma Art Museum. 


Major support for the exhibition and catalogue has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.  Additional support for the U.S. tour was provided by the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and by Gilead Sciences.


The Chicago presentation of the exhibition and related programming are made possible by the Alphawood Foundation.


Exhibition Catalogue

Art AIDS America is accompanied by an extensively researched catalogue written by Katz and Hushka. Featuring more than 100 works in color and essays by 15 contributors, it is the first comprehensive overview and reconsideration of 30 years of art made in response to the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Published by Tacoma Art Museum in association with University of Washington Press, it is available online from the University of Washington Press ($45), and will be available for purchase at the Alphawood Gallery during the run of the exhibition.


Related Programs

Programming will include exhibition tours, artist talks, panel discussions, performances and gallery conversations, as well as a number of other events presented in association with other cultural and advocacy partner organizations.  The full schedule will be announced shortly.


Visitor Information

Starting December 1, Art AIDS America Chicago will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11am – 8pm, and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am -6pm. Admission to the Alphawood Gallery is free; however, to ensure entry, timed admission passes may be reserved starting October 17 by visiting ArtAIDSAmericaChicago.org. Walk-ups will be available on a limited basis.  


The Gallery is conveniently located at 2401 N. Halsted in Chicago near the CTA Fullerton ‘L’ stop, as well as several CTA bus routes.  Limited free parking is available in an adjacent parking lot, along with more plentiful metered street parking and garage parking nearby.


For more information and updates, please visit ArtAIDSAmericaChicago.org  as well as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

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Images (from left):
Roger Brown. Peach Light, 1983. Oil on canvas, Courtesy The Roger Brown Estate, Kavi Gupta and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Art AIDS America Chicago logo

Andres Serrano. Blood and Semen III, 1990. Chromogenic color print, Courtesy of the artist.


Press Contacts:

Beth Silverman, +1 312.932.9950 or beth@silvermangroupchicago.com

Liza Massingberd, +1 312.932.9950 or liza@silvermangroupchicago.com


For high res press images, click HERE