March 1 - 31, 2008

Visual AIDS and The Body

Curated by Bernard Leibov

Sam Orwen, Lovers, 1982
French Legs
1989, silver gelatin print, 10" x 10"

Featuring the artwork of Archive Members: Kermit Berg, Bruce Cratsley,
William Donovan, Larry Eades, Jerry Frost, Michael Golden, Felix Gonzalez-Torres,
John Larabee, Edward Lightner, Louis Miller, Robert Miles Parker, Hermes Payrhuber,
Eric Rhein, William Tisdale, Wilmer Velez and Bruce Wm. Witsiepe.

In the Curatorís Statement:

My eye tends to quieter images. I'm not sure why -- it just does. From stolid museums to raucous art fairs to the dignity of the Frank Moore Archive Project, I am attracted to images that wait to be discovered. A lack of color riot, free of drama screaming, less of that in-your-face-ness -- all attract me.

And finding these works in the archive at Visual AIDS has a special resonance. Work that stands for so much and yet leaves room for choice, to notice, to care.

Liminal -- above or below the line?

I'm overcome by the life-force that emanates from the work in the Archive Project. Artists who have chosen to cross a line time and time again. Above or below. Too little or too much. A bit or a lot. Representational or abstract. Studied or carefree. Serious or fun. Despair or optimism. Freedom or caution. Action or inaction. And on and on. These works inspire me to choose my interpretation, my (world) view, my reality.

Subliminal -- how much is enough and how little is too little?

AIDS is not over! Can we afford to be subtle? Can we plant a seed and trust that it will flourish? Can we dare to believe that a new Administration will bring sense to the chaotic nexus of health, education and HIV/AIDS? Art is political. The art of the Archive Project poses real questions. A chorus of life energy refusing to bow to fear, intimidation, ignorance. A collective at work to call us into action. From safe sex to charitable giving to political discourse. There are so many ways to be involved; to take responsibility.

Sublime -- sometimes it's just right.

As I pulled together this gallery of images, something shifted. Take the journey with me. From the barely perceptible through the carefully constructed to the luscious red blood of the tortured soul. From black and white graphic through marble riches to the yellow grip of proud manhood. My eye grew and my spirit was lifted.

Sincere thanks to Amy and Nelson for the opportunity to spend time with the Archive Project and gratitude to the artists for their tireless efforts and rich contributions.

b i o g r a p h y

Bernard Leibov aka Boxo is a creative strategist and a curator/artist. He is a Board member of the HIV Law Project, where he produces and curates benefit exhibitions. Bernard is currently establishing BoxoFFICE, a project space featuring contemporary art from the new American frontier.

Every 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.”

The Body 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 dimensions.

Visual AIDS 
526 W. 26th St. # 510, New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212.627.9855  Fax: 212.627.9815

Visual AIDS Gallery

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“In those days, a gay man was made to feel nothing but shame about his feelings and his sexuality. I wanted my drawings to counteract that, to show gay men being happy and positive about who they were. Oh, I didn’t sit down to think this all out carefully. But I knew — right from the start — that my men were going to be proud and happy men!"
— Tom of Finland