The First 10
The Archive Project
THE FIRST 10
PS 122, NYC
Visual AIDS' first exhibition featured the works of the first ten artists represented in The Archive Project: Peter Cherone, Jose Luis Cortes, Lucretia Crichlow, William Cullum, Leonard Davis, Garland Eliason-French, Anselmo Figueiredo, David Knudsvig, Rick Martinez, and Eric Rhein.
"In the summer of 1994 we surveyed artists and arts organizations around the country, and held a meeting of New York art workers. The overwhelming common thread in the survey and meeting was that artists with HIV/AIDS needed professional services. At the same time, a newly formed organization called The Archive Committee was also discussing the needs of artists with AIDS. Primarily a group of artists, some of whom had, one focus of the Committee is to develop an archive for the work of artists with AIDS, so their work will not be lost. The Archive Committee and Visual AIDS agreed in the fall of 1994 to collaborate on the project. David Hirsh The Archive Committee undertook to reach out to artists with HIV/AIDS throughout New York City. As a Visual AIDS board member, I began to recruit professional photographers as a volunteers. David then matched up the photographers and artists and set up and attended the photo shoots. The artists participating in this current exhibition have all participated in this process and they represent the start of the slide archive. It has been great to see the enthusiasm with which busy professional s have set aside time to document the artists' work. Photographers can help fellow artists by doing what they do best. It is really wonderful to see how willing artists are to help each other in times of need, and it is great to see that in these times that members of the art community can come together and help their own. We are glad to have helped make this project possible, and we hope it is only the first of many services for artists with HIV/ AIDS." - Lisa Pines
"As the director of PS Gallery, I am most gratified to be collaborating with The Archive Project to present the first exhibition by artists who have availed themselves of the photo-documentation service. I am certain that the impact of this important program on the careers of artists with HIV/ AIDS will be enormous. Since 1978, PS 122 Gallery have been dedicated to providing exhibition opportunities to emerging and under-recognized artists. It therefore seems entirely appropriate to showcase this important project here. I am thankful to everyone involved with making this show possible and I am hopeful that the quality of the work in the exhibition will focus attention on this worthwhile endeavor and serve as an inspiration to all who see it." - Susan Schreiber
Historians more than anyone else should know how dependent the writing of good history is on reliable and differing sources. It is especially important for historians who are members of so-called marginalized communities to actively document the events of their present. By recording clearly and fully the events which inform their lives, and by preserving these records, members of such communities help ensure that their stories survive.
The current exhibition at PS 122 Gallery is the first public product of The Archive Project's ongoing task. Visual and biological information gathered through the Photo Documentation Service will be entered onto CD and software, and will be a global audience on Internet. The Photo Documentation Service will work in concert with other services provided by The Archives Project, in the hope that by providing these services to artists with HIV/AIDS, their individual experiences and that of their communities will not be lost to the future. An important aspect of The Archive Project is that its services are available to all artists with HIV/AIDS. The Project does not pass judgement on the basis of what might be considered success. For those artists who have operated at the margins of already marginalized art communities, The Project will guarantee their works' survival and exposure. The Archive Project can act as the individual historian cannot act. It will preserve a tremendous amount of experience and hold it out to the future, saying, "all of this happened, all of this was real--use the information well." -Nick Debs