May 1 - 31, 2008

Visual AIDS and The Body

Curated by Ruben Natal-San Miguel

Sam Orwen, Lovers, 1982
2005, watercolor and gouache, 20" x 16"

In the Curatorís Statement:

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 Loca."

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

Return to Events Page

— Share This Page —
Share |


World of Tom of Finland

Celebrating Erotic Art in Galleries, News and Events