AIDS and The Body
I Am My Own Landscape
Curated by Ivan Acebo-Choy
Tim and David, Scrap Bar, NYC - Exhibitionist Series
1988, Gelatin silver print, 4" x 5"
NOTE: Previous exhibitions are also available
on the website.
Art History teaches us that portraiture is the recording
of an individual’s appearance and personality. A landscape, furthermore,
depicts scenery: grandiose verdant areas, vast or intimate natural refuge
on to which individuals affix mythological and divine symbolisms. Nowadays,
we can also encounter urban landscapes, images representing the interaction
of individuals and their built environments. Yet, a landscape is not
a portrait. The individual, Art History may say, is in the scene or
the scene surrounds the human.
That statement could be true unless you confront the artworks
of AZT, Christopher Conry and Robert Blanchon, for example, where human
presence is not searching for a place to sing to, a site to conquer
or a view to contemplate: they are it.
Peter Madero III and Vincent Cianni’s images speak
of a type of belonging: the feeling that no other place could potentiate
their desires. Leslie Kaliades and Benjamin Fredrickson capitalize on
the obscenity of the mundane, the inevitable spaces that they are obliged
to inhabit through thick or thin, through health and illness, pain and
hope. This is why I smile whenever I stumble upon Felix Gonzalez Torres’
Portrait of Ross in LA (1991). Does Ross really disintegrate
every time a visitor takes a piece of candy? Or does he become ever
more compelling whenever that same visitor sees, once having experienced
the artwork, a heap of sweet treats on the table, the festive fall of
a piñata’s content, the lazy shadow of a broken column
near a construction site, a crumbling stone on the pavement?
These artists have, to some extent, transcended their
bodies. By which I mean, through their art they can also be understood
as a drain, the adult video store that titillated them, the ominous
hospital beds where they once rested, and couches and tables, and other
spaces where they find solace from the world outside.
They have become a place, a landscape, a site: and this
is not just a mere extension of their bodies, but rather the (un)pleasant
feeling of being that neither the meticulous rendering of a face nor
the careful expression of light could support.
See them become dark parking lots, frenzied sex cities,
cozy domestic interiors, romantic green meadows. They are not merely
in it; they are it, and it is in them. If they ever lacked a place to
be, these images show there may be no better home than that which they
have built for themselves.
About the Curator:
Ivan Acebo-Choy (BA, Wabash College,
USA; MA, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico) is a doctoral art
history student interested in the confluence of Queer Studies
and contemporary Latin American art.
He has participated in various publications and
critical art history anthologies that analyze the possibilities
of "queerness" in the Latin-American experience.
He recently curated You, the others; selections
of latin american queer art, which stemmed out of his doctoral
dissertation. He is near completion of his PhD at the University
of Havana, Cuba.
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
526 W. 26th St. # 510, New York, NY 10001
· Fax: 212.627.9815
Visual AIDS Gallery