LIVING POSITIVE & LONG-TERM SURVIVING: AN ARTIST PERSPECTIVE
LIVING POSITIVE & LONG-TERM SURVIVING: AN ARTIST PERSPECTIVE, which was held at The LGBT Center, featured four Visual AIDS Artist Members discussing the development of their artwork over the years as well as creative responses to long-term surviving with HIV/AIDS. Panelists Joyce McDonald, Hunter Reynolds, Marguerite Van Cook, and Patrick Webb presented both past and present projects, with a follow up conversation moderated by author Perry Halkitis (The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience) about diverse narratives of long-term surviving.
As a result of advances in medical treatment, people with HIV/AIDS are living longer--several have now lived with HIV/AIDS for over 30 years, which also come with new challenges and perspectives. Inspired by the reflections on long-term surviving with HIV/AIDS raised by Gregg Bordowitz, Stephen Andrews and Chloe Dzubilo in Visual AIDS' recent DUETS publications, LIVING POSITIVE & LONG-TERM SURVIVING: AN ARTIST PERSPECTIVE provided an expanded point of view acknowledging and honoring the challenges and cultural contributions of long-term survivors with HIV/AIDS.
This program was supported by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.
Joyce McDonald is an artist in many senses of the word. She is, of course, a literal artist: A talented painter and sculptor, Joyce's works often capture in stark relief the gamut of emotions she's experienced throughout her colorful life. Joyce is also a weaver of words: Not just as a poet or a songwriter (she is both), but also as coordinator and speaker for her church's AIDS ministry and assistant director of its children's choir. In addition to being a minister in training at her church, she is also dedicated to street ministry, and runs a group at her local women's shelter. She also practices the art of motherhood in her relationship with her two daughters, two sons-in-law and eight grandchildren.
Hunter Reynolds was an early member of ACT UP, and in 1989 co-founded Art Positive, an affinity group of ACT-UP to fight homophobia and censorship in the arts. For over 25 years, Reynolds has been using performance, photography, and installations to express his experience as an HIV-positive gay man living in the age of AIDS. Reynolds’s works address issues of gender identity, political, social, and sexual histories, mourning and loss, survival, hope and healing. Some of his best-known performance projects are The Patina du Prey’s Memorial Dress, The Drag Pose Series, Blood Spot Series and Mummification Series. He is currently working on his upcoming exhibition Survival AIDS Medication Reminder opening in September 2015 at PPOW gallery, which represents his work. Reynolds' archives are housed in the Fales NYU Library Downtown Collection. Reynolds' work will be included in the upcoming exhibition curated by Jonathan David Katz and Rock Huska, Art AIDS America, opening at the Tacoma Art Museum (2015) and traveling the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta (2016), and finally to the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York (2016).
Patrick Webb has been painting for almost 40 years. He uses digital tools in recording, arranging, and considering his work however it is in the mind made world—the proprioceptive experience of smearing, spreading, layering and scraping of paint that he finds himself. Since 1990, he has represented the experiences of a contemporary version of the Commedia dell'Arte figure Punchinello—his is an American cousin to the famous Italian clown. In 2011, for Visual AIDS he curated The Sword of Damocles: Selections from the Frank Moore Archive, which presented a range of work from twelve mid-career artists, who are also long-term survivors living with HIV as seen through the transformation of their practice over time. Webb's work is in many public and private collections and will be included in the upcoming exhibition curated by Jonathan David Katz and Rock Huska, Art AIDS America, opening at the Tacoma Art Museum (2015) and traveling the Zuckerman Museum of Art at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta (2016), and finally to the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York (2016).
Marguerite Van Cook‘s work utilizes an amalgam of low and high tech to create cinematic images that open spaces for the imagination and enable the viewer to experience color as a vehicle for exploration. Van Cook came to New York with her punk band The Innocents after touring with The Clash. She stayed, opened a gallery Ground Zero and curated numerous events and shows. Her own work as an artist and filmmaker placed her in many museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum and the Schwartz Art Collection at Harvard. Her other credits include poet (she was awarded the Van Rensselear Prize while at Columbia), writer, critic, comic book artist and actor. Her current graphic novel in collaboration with James Romberger is a generational autobiography entitled "The Late Child and Other Animals." Her collaborative project with David Wojnarowicz and James Romberger, "Seven Miles a Second," a graphic memoir of Wojnarowicz‘s life and death is in its second edition in America.
Perry N Halkitis (moderator) is Professor of Applied Psychology, Global Public Health, and Medicine, Director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), and the inaugural Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Global Institute of Public Health at New York University. Dr. Halkitis’ program of research examines the intersection between the HIV epidemic, drug abuse, and mental health burden, and the biological, behavioral, psychosocial, and structural factors that predispose these overlapping epidemics. CHIBPS, the research center he directs, conducts cutting-edge bio-behavioral studies, serves as a training site for the next generation of scholars, and partners with community agencies to conduct studies for and with the LGBT population. Dr. Halkitis is lead editor of two volumes, and author of Methamphetamine Addiction: Biological Foundations, Psychological Factors, and Social Consequences, which was published in 2009. His newest book, The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, is a 2014 Lambda Literary award nominee, and recipient of the American Psychological Association Distinguished Book Award in LGBT Psychology.