Monday, May 18, 2015 from 6:00pm–9:00pm
Type of event:
Visual AIDS Event

VAVA VOOM honoring Julie Ault, Jim Hodges and Luna Luis Ortiz

Prince George Ballroom
15 East 27th Street
New York, NY,
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The 10th Annual Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards & Spring Gala  




Recognizing: PAVEL ZOUBOK, VAVA Co-Founder, on the 10th Anniversary of the Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards   


Hosted by MIKE ALBO





The Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards (VAVA) recognize the contributions of individuals who reinforce the mission of Visual AIDS by strengthening the cultural history of art activism and AIDS advocacy.  


Photos: Michael Wilson


For more images and to read about the evening's celebration, visit our blog here

The Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards (VAVA) recognize the achievements and contributions of artists, activists and AIDS advocates who strengthen the cultural history of art activism and reinforce the mission of Visual AIDS.


Julie Ault is an artist, curator, writer, and editor who works both independently and collaboratively, often engaging historical inquiry. Ault frequently adopts curatorial and editorial roles as forms of artistic practice. Ault's recent exhibitions include Afterlife: a constellation for the 2014 Whitney Biennial and the collaboratively organized Macho Man Tell It To My Heart, Artists Space, 2013–14, featuring works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Martin Wong, Peter Hujar, Paul Thek, Tony Feher and many others.  Ault’s edited and authored publications include (FC) Two Cabins by James Benning (2011); Show and Tell: A Chronicle of Group Material (2010); Felix Gonzalez-Torres, (2006); Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita (2006); and Alternative Art New York 1965–1985 (2002). Ault cofounded the NYC based collaborative Group Material in1979.  Group Material presented such projects at AIDS Timeline in 1989.  

Jim Hodges was born in 1957 in Spokane, Washington and received his MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Since the late 1980s, Hodges has created a broad range of work exploring themes of fragility, temporality, love and death, longing and loss and the formation of queer identity in the aftermath of the AIDS crisis, utilizing a highly original and poetic vocabulary. His works frequently deploy different materials and techniques, from ready-made objects to more traditional media, such as graphite, ink, gold leaf and mirrored elements. Charting both the overlooked and obvious touchstones of life with equal attention and poignancy, Hodges’ conceptual practice is as broad and expansive as the range of human experiences he captures.  He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at various venues across the United States and Europe including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Camden Art Centre, London; the Aspen Art Museum; CGAC, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. He has also been included in various significant group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Hodges served as the acting director of the Graduate Sculpture Department at the Yale University School of Art for the 2011/2012 academic years. His film “Untitled,” 2010, was distributed by Visual AIDS on December 1, 2011 in conjunction with World AIDS Day/Day With(out) Art. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Association Internationale des Critiques d’art in 2006, the Albert Ucross Prize in 2001, and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 1995. A major retrospective of Hodges’ work, "Give More Than You Take" traveled from the Dallas Museum of Art, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and recently ended at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.  Hodges currently lives and works in New York City.

Luna Luis Ortiz was born in New York City in 1972. In 1986, he tested HIV positive and in 1988 began his journey as an HIV awareness spokesperson for youth living with HIV has dedicated his life to HIV prevention and awareness. He has used his photography to tell his story and has been featured on MTV, VH1, TeleMundo, ABC, NY1, MSNBC, LOGO and PBS documentaries. He has exhibited widely, and his work has been published in The New York Times, The London Observer, The Advocate, POZ, The NY Daily News, OUT, VIBE, Gay Times (London), Teen People, BLUE and A&U. He has been a Visual AIDS Artist Member since 1995. Ortiz has also been a part of the House and Ball community since 1988, and was a part of the House of Latex at GMHC as a walking member and peer educator from 1995-1997. He is one of the co-founders of the House of Frame by Frame Fierce, a project that teaches animation filmmaking to high risk youth as a form of activism. From 2006-2009, Ortiz was a spokesmodel for the HIV Stops with Us campaign, and has worked on social marketing campaigns for Gay Mens Health Crisis (GMHC) as well as hosting youth workshops, conferences and health fairs for over 300 youth of color. He hosts The Luna Show on YouTube, which celebrates and preserves the ballroom history of the Latino and Black LGBT experience as well as promotes HIV awareness, and his passion as a father of the House of Khan gives him the opportunity to continue to guide and support young people in the LGBT community. Today, Ortiz continues to inspire and empower youth of color around the world with his story of survival, living with HIV for 29 years. Luna Luis Ortiz is this year’s recipient of the Bill Olander VAVA presented to an individual in the creative arts living with HIV, and named in honor of the late New Museum curator and co-founder of Visual AIDS.

A Night of VAVA VOOM will be hosted by Mike Albo, including performances by Mx Justin Vivian Bond and Special Guest.


Mx Justin Vivian Bond is a writer, singer, painter, and performance artist. Mx Bond is the author of the Lambda Literary Award winning memoir TANGO: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels, published by The Feminist Press and Susie Says… a collaboration with Gina Garan (Powerhouse Books, 2012). V’s debut CD DENDRPOPHILE was self-released on WhimsyMusic in 2011 and was followed by SILVER WELLS in 2012. In 2011 Justin Vivian’s art exhibition The Fall of the House of Whimsy was presented at Participant Inc. in New York City. Mx Bond was nominated for a Tony Award for Kiki and Herb Alive On Broadway in 2007. Other notable theatrical endeavors include starring as Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis in Scott Wittman’s production of Jukebox Jackie: Snatches of Jackie Curtis as part of La Mama E.T.C.’s 50 Anniversary Season, originating the role of Herculine Barbin in Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking play Hidden: A Gender, touring with the performance troupe The Big Art Group and appearing in John Cameron Mitchell’s film Shortbus. Other films include Sunset Stories (2012), Imaginary Heroes (2004), and Fanci’s Persuasion (1995). Mx Bond is a recipient of The Ethyl Eichelberger Award, The Peter Reed Foundation Grant, and The Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award for Performance Art/Theater, an Obie and a Bessie. Please visit to download and enjoy v’s music and more.


Mike Albo is a writer, performance artist, monologist and comedian. Albo has completed five critically acclaimed, solo shows: MIKE ALBO, SPRAY, PLEASE EVERYTHING BURST and MY PRICE POINT, and most recently, THE JUNKET, as well as many solo performances and tours across the United States, Canada and Europe. His performances have been praised in many publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Paper, Time Out, The Independent in London, The Boston Globe, the Pittsburgh Tribune, and the LA Times. Selections of his work appear in EXTREME EXPOSURE: An Anthology Of Solo Performance Texts From The Twentieth Century (ed. by Jo Bonney). He has performed in several comedy shows across the country, both solo as well as a part of the comedy trio Unitard. Videos of his character, The Underminer, have surpassed half a million hits on YouTube and DailyMotion. As a writer, Mike Albo has published widely. He first novel, HORNITO: MY LIE LIFE, was published by HarperCollins in October 2000. His second novel, THE UNDERMINER (co-written with Virginia Heffernan) was published by Bloomsbury USA in 2005. His novella, THE JUNKET, was released on Amazon’s Kindle Singles in 2011. Albo has written for the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, GQ, Elle Décor, Country Living, The Daily Beast, Out, The Village Voice, Details, and many other magazines and websites. His fiction and essays have appeared in many anthologies, including The Worst Noel, Girls Who Love Boys Who Love Boys, Rejected and The Show I’ll Never Forget. Selections of his “Junk Mail” poetry have appeared in the Tin House.


Aaron Tilford is a designer, DJ and publisher of Spunk [arts] Magazine.