Shan Kelley, "With Curators Like These, Who Needs A Cure?," 2015, oil paint, semen, resin on wood, 5 x 7 in.

On Curating is looking for academic papers, well researched essays, and other textual interventions from artists, curators, scholars and others around contemporary issues of curating HIV/AIDS.

There has been a notable increase in the exhibition of HIV/AIDS in recent years including but not limited to Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987 - 1993 (Helen Molesworth and Claire Grace, 2010, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and the Harvard Art Museums); Art AIDS America (Jonathan David Katz and Rock Hushka, 2015, Tacoma Art Museum); and AIDS – Based on a True Story (Vladimir Čajkovac, 2015, German Hygiene Museum) resulting in deep engagement with viewers and impacted communities in the US and Europe around the ongoing epidemic. On Curating is working with scholar Theodore (ted) Kerr to explore recent exhibitions, the history of the epidemic being represented, reception and meaning of the work in the present, and the future of (re)presenting HIV/AIDS in galleries, museums, online, in books, and other platforms.

Kerr (working with academic Alexandra Juhasz), has suggested that recent curatorial developments are part of a larger phenomenon called the AIDS Crisis Revisitation in which there has been an increase in the cultural production, dissemination and conversation around HIV/AIDS specifically looking back at early responses to the crisis in the USA in the 1980s. He suggests that this comes after the Second Silence, a period coming after the 1996 release of life saving medication where cultural production around HIV dropped, as did dissemination and mainstream media conversation and conversation.

With Kerr’s ideas in mind, On Curating welcomes proposals concerning exhibiting HIV/AIDS. Questions of possible interest:

  • How is the ongoing epidemic, history of the crisis and other related issues being engaged with by curators, as well as artists, academics, activists and audiences within museums, galleries and other cultural locations?
  • How are curators and others considering addiction, care-giving, class, disability, employment, gender, geography, housing, poverty, race, religion, sexuality and other factors in representing the epidemic?
  • How do curators resist patriarchal, racist western-centric understandings of HIV/AIDS?
  • How do curators work with communities currently impacted by HIV/AIDS?
  • Does the prominent presence of timelines in AIDS related exhibitions tell us anything about collective knoweldge of the epidemic and history?
  • Do curators see a relationship between exhibitions and the social determinants of health?
  • What is the impact of technological advancements having on what works are discussed, made, and shown?
  • What are strategies for exhibiting absence, archival and otherwise?
  • What has been the role of oral histories and other forms of testimony within exhibitions of HIV/AIDS?
  • What role should exhibitions of HIV/AIDS play amid challenges of treatment access, HIV criminalization, stigma, systemic discrimination within the response and other ongoing challenges?
  • Can art save lives?

Questions and submissions: Theodore Kerr, [email protected]. Submissions should include a 500 word (max) proposal and a 200 word (max) bio. Deadline: December 7th, 2017

People living with HIV/AIDS, and people from communities impacted by HIV often left out of art and culture conversations are highly encouraged to submit.