Everyday Exhibition Closing Week Curator & Artist Tour
La MaMa Galleria
Visual AIDS hosted a tour of our exhibition Everyday during its final week at La MaMa Galleria. Exhibition curators Alexandra Juhasz, Jean Carlomusto and Hugh Ryan discussed the themes of the exhibition and the curatorial stakes of the show, while Artist+ Members John Hanning, Joyce McDonald and Frederick Weston spoke to their creative process and the works they have on display in the exhibition.
Curatorial Statement: "AIDS is an everyday experience. By this, we mean it is both common and ongoing; quotidian and unending. Yet its history – like all history – is being written in Boldfaced Names and Significant Dates, especially those from the near past. Like the moon that eclipses the sun because it is closer to our frame of reference, the enormity of that moment of the AIDS crisis threatens to blind us to both the sprawling present and the unknowable future. Moreover, the significance of this artist or that day is always less than the significance of the cumulative reality of life in the time of AIDS.
In EVERYDAY, we bring together work that engages with the “now” of AIDS, both historically and currently. Some of the work uses the materials of AIDS, from pills to pamphlets, while other pieces chronicle daily responses, from protest to prayer. Much of the work speaks in the vernacular of its own moment, whether that be wheatpaste, VHS, or an app. Some of it is made by professional artists whose gift is to speak of and to the world around them, while other pieces were made by intuitive creators who were driven to respond to the crisis as one mode of survival – the same spirit that drove us to make this exhibition.
Someday we will have a cure, and the infrastructure and political will to get it to everyone who needs it. But until then, AIDS is EVERYDAY."
This program is sponsored by a Humanities New York Vision/Action Grant.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
John Hanning is a collage and digital artist born in Arkansas. Hanning is also the author of Unfortunate Male, his first book. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
Joyce McDonald is an artist in many senses of the word. She is, of course, a literal artist: a talented painter and sculptor whose works often capture in stark relief the gamut of emotions she's experienced throughout her colorful life. Joyce is also a weaver of words: not just as a poet or a songwriter (she is both), but also as speaker for her church's AIDS ministry and assistant director of its children's choir.
Frederick Weston has been a Visual AIDS artist member since 1998. Born in Memphis, Tenn., and raised in Detroit, Mich., Weston moved to New York to enter the world of art and fashion in the early 1990's. His work communicates the soul of a thoughtful man feeling his way through physical realities and representation in America, often through themes of style, fashion, and the commercial image.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Jean Carlomusto was an early pioneer in the AIDS Activist video movement. Her most recent works include the Emmy-nominated documentary, Larry Kramer In Love & Anger (Sundance Film Festival and HBO, 2015), Sex In An Epidemic (Showtime, 2011), and Offerings (an interactive altar featured in the traveling international exhibition, “Not Alone”, Stop AIDS / Make Art, 2010). She continues to create critically acclaimed films that explore the unorthodox complexities of LGBTQ history.
Alexandra Juhasz has been making and thinking about AIDS activist video since the mid-80s. She is the author of AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke, 1995), and a large number of AIDS educational videos including Living with AIDS: Women and AIDS (with Jean Carlomusto, 1987), Safer and Sexier: A College Student's Guide to Safer Sex (1991), and Video Remains (2005). Most recently she’s been engaging in online cross-generational dialogue with AIDS activists and scholars about the recent spate of AIDS imagery after a lengthy period of representational quiet.
Hugh Ryan is a freelance writer and curator whose work explores the intersection of queer identity, history, and culture. His writing has appeared in venues from like The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Out Magazine, and The LA Review of Books, and he has spoken on queer museology at museums and universities around the world, including the Museum of History and Industry, Rutgers University, New York University, the Swedish Exhibition Agency & National Museum, and The Brooklyn Museum. He is the Founding Director of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History and currently sits on the Board of Advisors for QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, and is the New York Public Library's 2016-2017 Martin Duberman Visiting Scholar, where he is researching the queer history of the Brooklyn waterfront for a 2017 exhibition he is curating at the Brooklyn Historical Society.
Exhibition on view November 17 - December 10, 2016
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 1pm – 7:00pm
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.