AIDS and The Body
Curated by HIV Plus Magazine
Kissing ('Safer Sex' Series),
Richard Sawdon Smith
lambda print, 38" x 30"
Featuring the artwork of Archive Members: Eric Stephen
Abrams, Barton Lidice Benes, Robert Blanchon, Rene Capone, Luis Carle,
Gregg Cassin, Keith Haring, Jerry Hotten, Derek Jackson, John Lathram,
Joyce McDonald, Frank Moore, Hunter Reynolds,
Eric Rhein, Richard Sawdon Smith, Steed Taylor, George Towne,
Christopher Trujillo, and Albert Velasco.
From the artist: "'Kissing' is just
one image from the six-part 'Safer Sex' series, with the other five
becoming more sexually explicit," Sawdon Smith says. "On one
level the images could be read, ironically, as saying the only safe
sex is sex with yourself. While the series is intentionally humorous,
it also touches on the fear of contamination and infection and the often
isolating nature of an HIV diagnosis."
Why we chose this piece: This unique
double-exposure print strongly re-creates the pervasive fear of the
earliest days of the pandemic, when we were so afraid of exposing ourselves
to the virus that we literally were afraid to even touch another human
being -- much less progress to a level of intimacy.
In the Curatorís
of the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day and the corresponding
"Day With(out) Art," HIV Plus magazine wanted
to honor the visionaries who've brought -- and those who
continue to bring -- beauty to our world. We've collaborated
with the organization Visual AIDS to curate this special
anniversary exhibit, which we call "Salute."
The 20 works we selected represent a wide range of artistic
forms -- paintings, drawings, sculpture, posters, photography,
collages and mixed media. This variety is a mirror of the
vast diversity of the pandemic and of the people affected
by HIV -- men, women and children; mothers, fathers, daughters
and sons; gays, straights and bisexuals; the old and the
young; the rich and the poor; and people of all colors and
We've included both well-known artists, including renowned
graffiti artist Keith Haring, and those living outside the
limelight who draw strength from their art for their own
battles against the disease, inspiring others to find that
same commitment, focus and sense of purpose.
We also spotlight seminal works by both artists we lost
far too early and those who are still fighting the good
fight against HIV each and every day.
Some of the pieces in "Salute" are overtly sexy,
many are deeply layered and nuanced, while others are forceful
through their simplicity and starkness. Some stir feelings
of sadness, loss, emptiness, or nostalgia; others inspire
and enliven. Some are timely; others, timeless. Some reveal
new truths and spark different feelings each time they're
examined, while others sear into your soul upon first glance.
But all of the pieces are poignant lessons on what it truly
means -- on a personal and individual level -- to be living
with or affected by HIV.
So, please, take a few moments with our exhibit -- and
visit the HIV Plus website at www.hivplusmag.com -- to revel
in just a tiny piece of the enriching beauty that the pandemic
can never take from us.
b i o g r a p h y
HIV Plus is dedicated to helping our readers lead their
fullest life possible by giving them tips, tools and personal
stories that motivate them to make the best of their friendships
and relationships, work and leisure time, health care, and
overall sense of well-being.
By helping our readers seek out their most rewarding and
fulfilling experiences and to improve their outlook in everything
they do -- to live out their lives above and beyond being
HIV-positive -- they get the holistic effect of HIV Plus's
Please check out the November/December issue of HIV Plus
for an additional story of Visual AIDS "Art
for Everyone, Art Forever" by Benjamin Ryan.
month, Visual AIDS invites guest curators,
drawn from both the arts and AIDS communities, to select several
works from the Frank Moore Archive Project.
Founded in 1988 by arts professionals as a response to the
effects of AIDS on the arts community and as a way of organizing
artists, arts institutions, and arts audiences towards direct
action, Visual AIDS has evolved into an arts organization
with a two-pronged mission: 1) Through the Frank Moore Archive
Project, the largest slide library of work by artists living
with HIV and the estates of artists who have died of AIDS,
Visual AIDS historicizes the contributions of visual artists
with HIV while supporting their ability to continue making
art and furthering their professional careers, 2) In collaboration
with museums, galleries, artists, schools, and AIDS service
organizations, Visual AIDS produces exhibitions, publications,
and events utilizing visual art to spread the message “AIDS
IS NOT OVER.”
is now the most frequently visited HIV/AIDS-related site on
the Web, according to the Medical Library Association and
also the most frequently visited disease-specific site on
the Web, according to Hot 100. The Body contains a rich collection
of information on topics ranging from HIV prevention, state-of-the-art
treatment issues, humor and art. An invaluable resource, The
Body is used by clinicians, patients and the general public.
Part of The Body's mission is to enable artistic expression
to reach the Web, and to join art with other resources needed
to help the public comprehend the enormity and devastation
of the AIDS pandemic and to experience its human and spiritual
526 W. 26th St. # 510, New York, NY 10001
∑ Fax: 212.627.9815
Visual AIDS Gallery