In the Curatorís
This show is
dedicated to the AIDS warriors. All the individuals whose
continued activism provide a voice and generate change so
that most of us today can have equal rights, freedom and
help to find a cure for AIDS. Today, we can take for granted
that such a simple and innocent gesture as holding hands
in the street caused bloodshed, tears and even loss of life.
I always had great admiration for Gay Warriors such as Harvey
Milk, groups such as ACT- UP and the legendary heroes of
the Stonewall Riots. I imagine they had no fear and were
willing to sacrifice everything to bring change and prosperity.
The works selected here bring to life the passion, the energy,
the struggle, the emotion, the pain, the constant sense
of loss, the love and the redemption embodied in the gay
rights and AIDS activist movements.
One of the works that reminded me of this period of activism
is the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Perfect Lovers
is a simple but precise demonstration of love and perseverance.
Felix was more than an artist; he was also a great AIDS
activist, placing his art within the movement. John Dugdale's
cyanotypes remind me of a blue period of meditation, loss
and mourning while Luis Carle's Crowbar NYC reminds
me of celebrating in memory of friends that are no longer
around. How safe we all felt, underneath the disco ball,
the dance floor offering a sense of belonging and community.
I chose images of individuals from all walks of life and
events that remind me of my life and my friends' journeys
from the past 20 years.
Looking towards the future, I hope that whoever reads this
takes a moment to recognize that we have come a long way.
We have much to be grateful for but there are more battles
to fight and it is up to us, the ones who still remain.
A new generation of warriors must carry on, using as inspiration
the honored warriors who are no longer around but fought
with their lives for change. I believe there is a warrior
in all of us ... don't you think it is time to let the real
warrior in you out for a good cause?
b i o g r a p h y
Ruben Natal-San Miguel is an architect, curator, writer,
art collector, consultant, blogger and photographer who
specializes primarily in the art of emerging photography.
In addition, Ruben is involved with non-profit art organizations
such as ACRIA, Printed Matter, Aperture Foundation, AIDS
Chicago, Humble Arts Foundation, Photolucida and Visual
AIDS. He has also collaborated in several projects with
prominent artists including Magnum Photographer Susan Meiselas.
Ruben is the Editor-in-Chief of ARTmostfierce, an online
Art blog he founded. ARTmostfierce's main purpose is to
promote emerging art, artists and photographers, and to
benefit non-profit arts organizations while encouraging
the art of "fast paced" but affordable collecting.
Ruben wrote the introduction to The Humble Foundation
Collectors Guide for Emerging Art Photography released
in March 2009.
Ruben Natal-San Miguel works and lives in Manhattan NYC
where after 16 years he continues to live "La Vida
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