featured gallery for February 2002
Time & Place
Visual AIDS' invitation to curate an exhibition in their Web Gallery happened to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the founding of AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) and its predecessor agency, CRIA. My own active involvement with the efforts to combat AIDS date back to weekly volunteering stints in CRIA's small Chelsea offices a few months after the agency was founded. It was not surprising, therefore, that my selections from the Archive reflect memories and emotions wrought by the past decade.
The specter of death has long been a catalyst for innovative artistic expression and AIDS has been no exception. As I made my way through the thousands of images in the Visual AIDS Archive, I couldn't help but feel that the human cost for the artistry spread out before me had been unconscionably high. Nonetheless, I ultimately felt heartened by the near perfect articulation of time and place, hope and despair present in the following images. Several of the artists I selected have been ardent supporters of ACRIA's efforts to test new AIDS treatments. All of the artists share a keen sense of their medium's ability to give voice to their emotions. Viewed in sequence these images effectively tell the story of the past ten years, and, I hope, the promise of the future.