Home Video: Media Art in Response to HIV/AIDS
Electronic Arts Intermix
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) has partnered with the Museum of the City of New York to co-present Home Video: Media Art in Response to HIV/AIDS, a screening and discussion of three videos that reveal how activists and artists documented and reshaped everyday responses to HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and ‘90s. The program, which includes works by WAVE (Women’s AIDS Video Enterprise), George Kuchar, and Charlie Ahearn, is organized in conjunction with the exhibition AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism, now on view at the Museum of the City of New York.
Alexandra Juhasz and Juanita Mohammed Szczepanski, members of video collective WAVE, will share an excerpt from We Care: A Video for Care Providers of People Affected by AIDS (1990), featured in AIDS at Home; Karl McCool of EAI will screen and discuss The Thursday People (1987), created by George Kuchar in memory of filmmaker Curt McDowell; and filmmaker and artist Charlie Ahearn will present his video portrait of painter Martin Wong (1992/1998). AIDS at Home curator Stephen Vider will moderate.
The three videos in the program engage the concept of “home video,” making use of consumer video technology and the aesthetics of the camcorder era to create works that explore the intersections of art, caretaking, family, and home. In The Thursday People, legendary film and videomaker George Kuchar elegizes, with characteristic candor and humor, his friend, lover, collaborator, and fellow underground cinema legend, filmmaker Curt McDowell. In the weeks after his death from AIDS-related illnesses, McDowell is recalled by friends and family at a weekly gathering, in what had been his Mission District home, called the “Soiree.” Charlie Ahearn offers his own intimate video portrait, documenting artist Martin Wong in his Lower East Side apartment. Ahearn provides a view of the artist “at home” — not only in his apartment and studio, but in the neighborhoods of the Lower East Side and Chinatown which Wong rendered indelibly in his paintings. We Care was collectively produced by WAVE, a remarkable “video support group” sponsored by the Brooklyn AIDS Task Force and arts funding organizations. The video, which includes intimate conversations with caregivers and people living with AIDS, represents the result of six months of meetings among seven women exploring HIV/AIDS and video. As Catherine Saalfield writes, “The result is a rich grassroots effort which documents many challenges that AIDS present to care-givers and which rebukes many common myths about HIV/AIDS.” These works continue to resonate today whether by challenging still-held misconceptions of living with HIV/AIDS or offering a view of art making in a less gentrified New York or San Francisco.
Running until October 24th, 2017 at the Museum of the City of New York, AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism examines how artists and activists have responded to the HIV/AIDS crisis through the lens of caretaking, housing, and family, from the 1980s to the present.