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by David Schuyler via The Business Journal

The Milwaukee Art Museum said Friday that it has acquired a work from noted American photographer Taryn Simon called "Live HIV," which the museum bought in recognition of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

The museum purchased the work with funds from the Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, given by Milwaukee philanthropist and community advocate Joseph Pabst.

“Live HIV” was exhibited last year as part of the exhibition "Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts." It is a photograph of a vial containing the live human immunodeficiency virus, taken at an HIV research laboratory at Harvard University in Boston. The image was included in the series "An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar" (2007), which comprises photographs and texts revealing objects and sites that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology, or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public. It will debut at the museum Dec. 1 and admission will be free that day.

"To me, it is a stunning reminder of the millions of people who live with HIV, and those who have lost their battle,” said Pabst in a museum press release. “The Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund was created to improve our community through arts and education, and I can think of no better way to highlight the continuing epidemic of HIV and AIDS than by publicly showcasing artwork that reminds us that our work is not done.”

Daniel Keegan, Milwaukee Art Museum director, expressed thanks to Pabst for the gift.

“Art is meant to inspire, and I hope that this photograph will inspire others on World AIDS Day and beyond,” Keegan said.

World AIDS Day is acknowledged each year on Dec. 1. It is estimated that more than 34 million people worldwide are infected with HIV or AIDS, and more than 30 million have died from the disease since it was first identified 30 years ago.