Shan Kelley, "With Curators Like These, Who Needs A Cure," 2015 oil paint, semen, resin on wood, 5 x 7 in.
RADIANT PRESENCE is a digital slideshow with images from the Visual AIDS' Artist+ Registry, the largest database of works by artists with HIV/AIDS. RADIANT PRESENCE features artwork by artists living with HIV/AIDS and those who are no longer with us. The artwork is interspersed with current statistics and information about HIV/AIDS today.
Visual AIDS collaborated with 9 influential artists, activists and curators—Bill Arning, Ian Alteveer, Chris Vargas, Rae Lewis-Thornton, Mark S. King, Allen Frame, Maria Mejia, Jack Mackenroth, and Kimberly Drew—to select artwork for RADIANT PRESENCE.
For the 26th annual Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS partnered with art institutions, AIDS-service organizations, and universities for screenings and public programs to highlight RADIANT PRESENCE internationally. The RADIANT PRESENCE video premiered online on December 1, and was the featured homepage video on Artforum and Poz.
Visual AIDS also coordinated large-scale outdoor projections of RADIANT PRESENCE in New York City on the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the former site of St Vincent's (once the largest AIDS ward on the East Coast, now being developed into luxury condos); in San Francisco on the de Young Museum and the historic Castro Theatre; and in Miami on the arts non-profit Dimension Variable during Art Basel.
- Stop motion video of all NYC projection locations HERE
- Video of RADIANT PRESENCE projected on the Guggenheim Museum HERE
- Video of RADIANT PRESENCE projected on the former site of St. Vincent's Hospital HERE
- Photographs from all NYC projection locations HERE
- Photographs from San Francisco and Miami projections HERE
RADIANT PRESENCE was covered by:
- ArtForum: "RADIANT PRESENCE (2015) by Visual AIDS"
- Queerty: "Everything You Need To Know For World AIDS Day In Images"
- Artnews: "Visual AIDS Releases Slide Show To Mark World AIDS Day"
- Hoodline, interview with Alex Fialho: "Radiant Presence Marks World AIDS Day With Guerrilla Slideshow"
- TheBody.com: "With Radiant Presence, Visual AIDS Bridges Generations of Art and Advocacy for World AIDS Day 2015"
- Plus: "Radiant Presence Commemorates Poz Artists"
- Artnet: "Guerrilla Projections Honor Day Without Art in New York, San Francisco, and Miami"
- Stanford Arts Review: "My AIDS Won't Fit in Your Museum"
At this point in the AIDS epidemic, over 39 million people have died of AIDS-related causes. The nature of the crisis has changed, however, so that nearly just as many people, 36 million, are living with HIV today. In this context, RADIANT PRESENCE showcases the resilience and vitality of Visual AIDS’ Artist Members and their artwork, preserving the radiance of those who have passed while provoking dialogue about the needs and experiences of people living with HIV.
RADIANT PRESENCE provokes conversations about HIV criminalization and stigma, access to treatment, the shifting demographics of people living with HIV and the disproportionate effect of the epidemic on communities of color and transwomen.
RADIANT PRESENCE is inspired by the 25th Anniversary of Electric Blanket, an epic slide show about AIDS created by photographers Nan Goldin, Allen Frame and Frank Franca for Visual AIDS which intersperses the work of over 200 photographers with slide texts that include demographics, data, and slogans about AIDS worldwide. The slide show, initially projected on the façade of Cooper Union on December 1 1990, was later projected on public walls and buildings internationally.
On and around World AIDS Day, December 1, 2015, RADIANT PRESENCE reached thousands of viewers through public screenings, social media and public programs in museums, art institutions, universities, AIDS service organizations and online venues.
Artists featured in the slideshow include: Stephen Andrews, AZT, Jurgen Baldiga, Bizzy Barefoot, Barton Lidice Beneš, Luis Carle, Walt Cessna, Tseng Kwong Chi, Lucretia Crichlow, Darkroom Danny, Chloe Dzubilo, Brent Nicholson Earle, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Benjamin Fredrickson, Tim Greathouse, Max Greenberg, Carlos Gutierrez-Solana, Veritee Reed Hall, John Hanning, W. Benjamin Incerti, Derek Jackson, Shan Kelley, Kia Labeija, Nancer LeMoins, David McDiarmid, Joyce McDonald, Kissa Millar, Mark Morrisroe, Jon Nalley, Ray Navarro, Luna Luis Ortiz, Richard Renaldi, Hunter Reynolds, Juan Rivera, Eric Rhein, Jeffrey Scott, Steed Taylor, Hector Toscano, L. Robert Westeen, Jorge Veras, Bruce Volpone, Albert Winn, Martin Wong, David Wojnarowicz, Lina Yaroslavska
In addition to the slideshow, each curator also produced individual web galleries featuring: Alex Aleixo, Ali, Rob Anderson, Kelvin Atmadibrata, Crawford Barton, Jaiden Benz, Bern Boyle, Vincent Chevalier, Paul Chisholm, Vincent Cianni, Ray Cook, Bruce Cratsley, Joe De Hoyos, Jimmy De Sana, John Douglas, John Dugdale, Steven Dwayne Bryk, Darrel Ellis, Robert Flack, Martin Freeman, Robert Getso, Félix González-Torres, Hervé Guibert, Sunil Gupta, Hannecke Gustavo, Keith Haring, Michael Harwood, horea, Peter Hujar, Leslie Kaliades, John Kelly, John Lathram III, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andrew McPhail, Greg Mitchell, Steve Muench, Kyle Nylund, Rob Ordonez, Jo Ori, Ian Richards, Peter Robinson Jr, Javier Rocabado, Rafael Sánchez, Rene Santos, Tracy Silverberg, Jack Smith, Javier Soriano, Alex Sparrowhawk, Andrew Spencer, stVincent, Wyatt Tan, Kurt Weston, Daniel Williams, Dirk H. Wilms, Andrew Zealley
Individual web galleries:
- Ian Alteveer: Self-Portraits from the Registry
- Bill Arning: Hauntings
- Kimberly Drew: "Sorrow's Swing": Learning the Choreography of AIDS
- Allen Frame: Shaping the Self
- Mark S. King: Choosing Joy
- Rae Lewis-Thornton: Perseverance
- Jack Mackenroth: Epidemic of Creativity
- Maria Mejia: Journey
- Chris Vargas: Intertext
WHERE TO VIEW
New York, NY
★ Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY), December 5, 8:30-10pm, Screening in conjunction with "LATE NIGHT WITH @VISUAL_AIDS: #GoingViral With Your Activism Through Social Media" event featuring Ted Kerr, Shawn Torres, Rusti Miller-Hill and Jawanza Williams (website)
BRIC (647 Fulton St. Downtown Brooklyn, NY), December 1, 5–7pm, Looping gallery presentation before a peer driven program, "Conversation with Mark Segal and David Carter" (website)
Columbia University School of the Arts (Dodge Hall Lobby, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY, 10027), December 1, Looping video presentation
End AIDS 2020 Coalition (Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th Street, New York NY 10027), December 1, 10:15am–11:00am, Looping theater presentation (facebook event)
Fashion Institute of Technology (227 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001), December 1st, 10am - 6pm, Looping video presentation in cafeteria & select monitors throughout the school
International Center of Photography (1114 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036), Screening for ICP’s Community Partnership with Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
New Museum (235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002), November 28–29, 11am–6pm, Looping presentation in the New Museum Theater
New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (721 Broadway, and 113 Second Avenue) 8a–11pm, Looping Monitor Presentation
Parsons School of Design (2 West 13th Street, Entrance Lobby, New York, NY 10011), December 1, 8am-12am, Day-long looping video presentation on two street-level monitors
Queens Museum (New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY 11368), December 5, 3-5:30pm, Screening in conjunction with artist talk by Luna Luis Ortiz and Voguing Ball (website) (facebook event)
The Senior Planet Exploration Center (127 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001), December 1, 10a-5p, Looping Gallery Presentation
Hampshire College Library (893 West St. Amherst, MA 01002) December 1st- 10th, Looping video presentation
Public Library Amsterdam (Oosterdokskade 143, 1011 DL Amsterdam, Netherlands), December 1 - December 31, Looping Gallery Presentation.
Paradiso (Weteringschans 6-8, 1017 SG Amsterdam, Netherlands), December 1, 8:45pm, Screening in conjuncton with Lovedance Festival Speakers Programme.
Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (33 Garden Road, Annandale-on-Hudson NY 12504), December 1, 9:30am–8:00pm, Looping video presentation in the CCS Bard Atrium, with a reading of an excerpt from Gregg Bordowitz's text, "Picture a Coalition", at 10am
Ohio University LGBT Center (354 Baker Center, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701), December 1, Looping presentation and screening of “Rent,” followed by discussion of both films (facebook event)
Pickford Film Center (1318 Bay St., Bellingham, WA 98225), December 1, 10am–10pm, Looping video presentation
Limelight Cinema (1416 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA 98229), December 1, 10am–10pm, Looping video presentation
Community AIDS Action Group of South Central Indiana (Fountain Square Ballroom, 101 W. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47404), November 30, 5:30pm–6pm, Looping video presentation and hors d’oeuvres reception followed by candlelight remembrance, presentation of the Celia Busch Making a Difference Award and performances by Quarryland Men’s Chorus and Ladies First (facebook event)
Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs (1315 E. Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN), December 3, 7–8:30pm, Screening in conjunction with guest speaker and panel
University of Buffalo, Center for the Arts (Lower Gallery, 103 Center for the Arts, Buffalo, New York 14260), December 1, 7pm–9mp, all-day screening in multiple campus locations in conjunction with a panel discussion (facebook event)
Harvard Art Museums, Lightbox Gallery (32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA; 5th Floor), December 1, 10am–5pm, Looping gallery presentation
School of the Art Institute Chicago (Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State, 7th floor), December 1, 1-6p, Looping gallery presentation (facebook event)
School of the Art Institute Chicago (ExTV: Maclean Cafe and Columbus Building), December 1-9, Looping presentation on campus monitors
Gallery 400 (400 S Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60607), December 1, 10am–6pm, Looping video presentation in a dimmed gallery space, information from anti-stigma group Mr. Friendly (Chicago chapter) and free HIV testing by Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN) will be available from 2–5pm
Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S. Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL), December 1, 9am–5pm, looping video presentation (website)
Pomona College Museum of Art (330 North College Ave. Claremont, CA 91711), December 3, 5–11pm, Looping video presentation during weekly Art After Hours event (facebook event)
Wexner Center for the Arts (1871 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43210), December 1, 8am–6pm, Looping gallery presentation
Southern Methodist University, Doolin Gallery (6101 Bishop Blvd, Dallas TX, 75275), Dec 1, 10am–5pm, looping gallery presentation.
Davidson College (The Alvarez Union, 207 Faculty Drive, Davidson, NC 28035), December 1, Looping presentation in conjunction with other Day With(out) Art events
Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture (10242-106 Street Edmonton, AB, Canada), December 1 at 7pm, Looping gallery presentation in conjunction with Clean, Fit and Decease Free, viewable until Jan.16
Fort Worth, TX
Texas Christian University, Moudy Gallery (2805 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76129), December 1, 9am–9pm, Looping gallery presentation
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (3200 Darnell St, Fort Worth, TX, 76107) December 1, noon–2 pm, Looping video presentation in auditorium (website)
East Carolina University, School of Art and Design (2000 Jenkins Fine Arts Center, Greenville, NC), December 1, 8am–4pm, Looping Gallery Presentation
James Madison University, Student Center Prism Gallery (800 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA), November 30 - December 4, 10a-4pm, looping video presentation
Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Street, Hartford, CT), December 1, Looping presentation prior to film screenings
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (5216 Montrose Boulevard, Houston, TX), November 28 - December 6, looping video presentation in elevator monitor
Space Debris (Hoca Tahsin Sokak, No:15, Floor:1, Karaköy/Beyoğlu; Istanbul, Turkey) December 1, 1-7pm, Looping gallery presentation
Ithaca College LGBT Center (953 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY 14850), Dec 1, 10 am–4 pm, Looping video presentation
Arkansas State University Jonesboro, Fine Arts Center (2105 Aggie Rd, Jonesboro, AR 72401), December 1, 10am–5pm, Looping video presentation in lobby
Los Angeles, LA
Commonwealth and Council (3006 W 7TH ST STE 220, Los Angeles, CA 90005), December 2 & 3, 12–6pm, Looping Gallery Presentation
Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024), December 1, 11am–5pm, looping gallery presentation in the Annex
l.a.Eyeworks (7386 Beverly Boulevard and 7407 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA), December 1, 11am-7pm. In-store looping presentation (website)
Loyola Marymount University, Foley Hall Lobby (1 Loyola Marymount University Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90045), December 2–5, Continuous loop concurrent with performance of “All That He Was” (website)
MUSTACHE MONDAYS (The Lash 117 Winston, LA CA 90013) Nov 30th, 8PM - 2AM, Kembra Pfahler [live] & RADIANT PRESENCE looping presentation.
Women's Center for Creative Work (2525 Glover Place, Los Angeles, CA 90031), December 1, 12–5pm, Looping gallery presentation organized by East of Borneo
Doherty Institute (792 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, Australia), December 1, Screening as a part of a day of free public events, Getting to Zero (website)
University of Memphis, Arts and Communications Building (3720 Alumni Ave, Memphis, TN 38152), December 1, 10am-5pm, Looping presentation on lobby TV monitors.
Dimensions Variable (100 NE 11 Street, West Wing, Miami, FL 33132), December 1, 6-9pm, Outdoor building projection
McGill University, Moving Image Research Laboratory (855 Sherbrooke Street West, Leacock Building, Room B46), December 1, 2pm–4pm, Looping video presentation
Newcastle University Fine Art Department (King Edward VII Building, outside the Fine Art Lecture Theatre), December 1, 10am – 7pm. Looping gallery presentation.
Queer Trans* Youth Treehouse (1684 7th Street, Oakland, CA 94607), December 1, Looping gallery presentation (facebook)
Chapman University (1 University Drive, Orange, CA), December 1, Looping gallery presentation in student union building
Miami University, Women's Center (210 E Spring St, Oxford, OH), December 1, 9am-6pm, Looping presentation in McGuffey Hall 127
Miami University, McGuffey Hall 322 (210 E Spring St, Oxford, OH), December 1, 7pm, screening before World AIDS Day panel discussion "HIV/AIDS in present day communities"
Artspace (378 Aylmer Street North, Unit 3, Peterborough, ON) December 1, 12-6pm, Looping gallery presentation
The Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212), December 1, 10am–5pm, Continuous screening in the museum’s theater
Pacific Northwest College of Art (511 NW Broadway, Portland, OR 97209), December 1, Looping video presentation in the Office of Student Life
Providence screenings organized by Headmaster
AS220 (115 Empire Street, Providence, RI 02903) December 1, Looping video presentation in Empire Street windows
Aurora Providence (276 Westminster St, Providence, RI 02903) December 1, Looping video projection
Bryant University (1150 Douglas Turnpike, Smithfield, RI 02917) December 1, Looping video presentation in Fisher Student Center
RISD Museum (224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI 02903) December 1, Looping video projection in Spalter New Media Gallery
The Dean Hotel (122 Fountain Street, Providence, RI 02903) December 1, Looping video presentation in lobby
Youth Pride Inc. (743 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903) December 1, Looping video presentation in drop-in center
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Museum of Fine Arts (University of Utah, 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84112), December 1, 10am–6pm, Looping presentation in auditorium
San Diego, CA
San Diego State University, Montezuma Hall in the Aztec Student Union (6075 Aztec Cir Dr, San Diego, CA 92182), December 1, 9am–8pm, Looping presentation in conjunction with The AIDS Memorial Quilt display/viewing
UC San Diego (Price Center Ballroom East, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, 92103) 12pm – 9 pm, Looping Presentation in Student Center.
San Francisco, CA
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission St, San Francisco, CA), December 1, 2pm–6pm, Looping presentation in screening room
LYRIC (127 Collingwood St, San Francisco, CA 94114), December 1st, Screening in conjunction with teach-in about HIV criminalization in the US and letter writing campaign
San Jose, CA
The LGBTQ Youth Space (452 S. 1st St., San Jose, CA, USA), December 4, 3–11pm, Looping gallery presentation in conjunction with the South First Friday’s Art Walk and HIV/AIDS Safer Sex Workshop for teens and young adults ages 13-25 (website)
University Prep (8000 25th Avenue NE, Seattle WA 98115), December 4, 11am, 2pm, Screenings in conjunction with visual arts course "Art & Social Change"
St. Louis, MO
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63108), December 4, 7pm, Screening on the mezzanine during First Friday.
Sioux City, IA
Morningside College (1501 Morningside Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106), December 1, 6 pm, Looping presentation in Lincoln Center, UPS Auditorium.
Tacoma Art Museum (1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA), December 1, 10am - pm, Looping presentation in lobby.
Tacoma Art Museum (1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA), January 10, 12 - 4pm, Looping presentation in conjunction with "It's a Wrap!" Art AIDS America closing party.
The Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), November 28, 11am, Screening in conjunction with the Women's Forum for Volunteers and Community Members
Vancouver Island PWA Society (1139 Yates St., Victoria B.C.), December 1, 7pm, Screening in conjunction with peer-driven program, "We Are Hear, Busting Stigma Through Story Telling"
Virginia Beach, VA
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (2200 Parks Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA 23451), December 1, 10am–9pm, Looping presentation in MOCA’s Price Auditorium
Weyers Cave, VA
Blue Ridge Community Center (College Ln, Weyers Cave, VA 24486), December 1, 11a-2p, looping video presentation in classroom F112; free rapid HIV testing in classroom T122
Wilton Manors, FL
World AIDS Museum and Educational Center (1201 N E 26th St. Suite 111 Wilton Manors, FL. 33305), Dec. 1, 10am to 10pm, Looping Gallery Presentation
Ian Alteveer is associate curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he recently organized the 2015 Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe. He also curated the prior two commissions with Dan Graham and Günter Vogt (2014) and Imran Qureshi (2013), as well as William Kentridge: The Refusal of Time (2013–14). He was part of the curatorial team for the Met’s Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years (2012), which traveled to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and worked on the Museum’s presentations of Ellsworth Kelly Plant Drawings (2012); Richard Serra Drawing (2011); John Baldessari: Pure Beauty (2010); Francis Bacon: A Retrospective (2009); and Jasper Johns: Gray (2008). Before the Met he was graduate curatorial fellow and curatorial assistant at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, where he worked on a groundbreaking survey of art from New York in the 1970s and early ‘80s, The Downtown Show: 1974–84 (2005). He has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and completed his qualifying exams for a PhD in the history of art at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts, where he is writing a dissertation on the early institutional history of California Institute of Arts and art in Los Angeles in the 1970s. Ian was also a visiting critic at the Yale University School of Art where he taught critical practice to first-year MFA students from 2008 to 2013.
Bill Arning is the director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston where he has organized solo exhibitions of Marc Swanson, Marilyn Minter, as well as an upcoming survey of Houston's hometown hero Mark Flood. From 1985 to 1996, Arning was director of White Columns in New York City where he organized groundbreaking first solo shows for many of the best known artists of his generation including John Currin, Cady Noland, and Jim Hodges as well as ACT-UP at White Columns: We are Fighting for your lives too! In 1993 Arning organized the first exhibition about gender and sexuality in South America, Maricas at the Center Cultural Ricardo Rojas at the University of Buenos Aires.He has written texts for retrospectives of Jim Hodges, Keith Haring, and Donald Moffett as well as other writing for books by Elmgreen and Dragset and Lawrence Rinder, and has written an essay on the art market and AIDS for the upcoming publication ArtAIDSAmerica being organized by the Tacoma Art Museum.
Kimberly Drew received her B.A. from Smith College in Art History and African-American Studies, with a concentration in Museum Studies. An avid lover of black culture and art, Kimberly first experienced the art world as an intern in the Director’s Office of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her time at the Studio Museum inspired her to start the Tumblr blog Black Contemporary Art, sparking her interest in social media.
Allen Frame is an artist and writer, represented by Gitterman Gallery in New York where he has had solo photo exhibitions in 2005, 2009, and 2013. With Nan Goldin and Frank Franca in 1990, he co-created Electric Blanket, an epic slide show about AIDS, which toured throughout the U.S. and around the world from 1990 to 2002.He was a member of the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus and the Visual AIDS Board of Directors. In 1992, he co-directed Private Public, a series of over 200 unannounced performances about living with AIDS enacted on New York subway trains. In 1983-84, he co-adapted and directed Sounds in the Distance by David Wojnarowicz, performed in New York and Berlin.
Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award winning AIDS Activist. She has been featured in countless magazines and media outlets, Woman's Day, Essence, Ebony, Jet, Glamour, O, The Oprah Magazine, and shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Nightline, Dateline, Huffington Post, CNN, HLN News and BET and many more. She is an Award winning blogger, jewelry designer and artist. Rae has been living with HIV for 32 years.
Mark S. King is a writer and advocate who has been sharing his experiences living with HIV since he tested positive in 1985. His popular blog, MyFabulousDisease.com, was recognized most recently as a 2015 GLAAD Media Award nominee. His book, A Place Like This, chronicles his life in Los Angeles during the dawn of the epidemic. Twitter: @myfabdisease email: [email protected] web: www.myfabulousdisease.com
Jack Mackenroth is the Senior Communications Officer for The Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF.org). In 2013 he was the creative force behind the multi-media anti-stigma and HIV testing initiative, “HIV Equal”. Jack became one of the nations most visible HIV activists after disclosing his own HIV status on season four of Project Runway. Most recently he conceptualized and launched the HIV Shower Selfie Challenge with the hashtag #weareALLclean on World AIDS Day 2014, which went globally viral in multiple countries with over 26 million social media impressions. Jack has two bachelor’s degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and one from Parson School of Design. web: jackmackenroth.com social media @jackmackenroth
Maria Mejia has immersed herself in HIV/AIDS education and become a powerful activist and motivational speaker for education, treatment, testing and prevention. She is the co-author of the book From a Warrior’s Passion and Pain, a real life account of her 26-year battle with HIV. She is part of the campaign, “Let’s Stop HIV Together” for the Center for Disease Control and Stop HIV Together/Detengamos el VIH Juntos. She is also The Global Ambassador for The Well project, a CAB/Blogger, and a Greater than AIDS ambassador for their campaign for Women/HIV and IPV. She is also the founder of the "International Place for People With...", largest online support group in the globe.
Chris E. Vargas is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist based in the Pacific Northwest. His video Liberaceón (2011, 16 minutes) renarrates the death of Liberace as the catalyst for direct-action AIDS activism. Vargas is the founder of MOTHA–Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a conceptual arts institution.