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Nicolas Moufarrege (1947-1985) was an artist and writer born to Lebanese parents in Alexandria, Egypt and raised in Beirut. During a career that lasted just over a decade, he created an original and idiosyncratic body of embroidered paintings made in Beirut, Paris, and New York City. Nicolas died of AIDS-related complications in New York City in 1985, in the earliest days of the crisis. His death had a profound effect on his friends, fellow artists, writers, and gallerists in the East Village art scene. Nicolas's work has been included in the Visual AIDS Artist+ Archive and Registry for many years, thanks in part to the support of his family members, who have saved and cherished many of his artworks. In 2016, Visual AIDS produced DUETS: Dean Daderko & Elaine Reichek in Conversation on Nicolas A. Moufarrege, in which curator Dean Daderko speaks with artist Elaine Reichek about Nicolas's art, life and legacy. The 72 page book includes 29 color images.

In 2018, Dean Daderko organized Recognize My Sign—Nicolas's first solo museum exhibition—at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, where he is curator. We are thrilled that this extraordinary exhibition of nearly 40 tapestries and canvases, drawings, photographs, and documents, has now traveled to the Queens Museum, where it will be on view until February 16th. The exhibition traces the development of Nicolas's work from the lap-scaled portrait-tapestries he began making in the early 1970s to the final works he created while living in New York between 1980 and 1985. This exhibition offers an opportunity to rediscover the materially and conceptually compelling work of a singular creative force whose output is remarkably relevant and resonant today.

This past summer, Visual AIDS met with Queens Museum director Sally Tallant and curator Larissa Harris to discuss ways in which we might partner with the museum to illuminate the connection between Nicolas's life, work, and the AIDS crisis, while also sharing contemporary information about HIV during the show's run. Together, the Queens Museum and Visual AIDS developed a series of projects and events that will take place from October 2019 through February 2020.

With What Would An HIV Doula Do? (WWHIVDD) and the Queens Museum, Visual AIDS produced a resource guide titled Recognizing the Present: A Guide to HIV in the 21st Century. The guide provides accessible information about the ongoing epidemic and shares Queens-based AIDS resources. English and Spanish versions are available in the Queens Museum's lobby and digitally as a PDF, downloadable from the Visual AIDS and Queens Museum websites.

In tandem with the resource guide, Visual AIDS worked with WWHIVDD to provide a staff training at the Queens Museum prior to the opening of the exhibition, with a focus on updating people's understanding of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to reflect the realities of HIV in the 21st century.

GALLERY TALKS AND WORKSHOPS AT THE QUEENS MUSEUM:

Gallery Talk: Yasmin Ramirez, Elaine Reichek, and James Romberger on Nicolas Moufarrege
Sunday, October 27, 3PM, FREE

Curator Yasmin Ramirez and artists Elaine Reichek and James Romberger discuss the art and life of Nicolas Moufarrege. The talk centers on Moufarrege’s time in New York City, where he moved in 1981 and became a central figure in the burgeoning East Village arts scene. Speakers reflect on their friendship with Moufarrege, the impact of the AIDS epidemic on his art and others’, and the resonance of his work today.

Women's Empowerment Art Therapy Group
Wednesday, November 13 (not open to the general public, see below for information)

Led by Visual AIDS Artist Member and activist, Shirlene Cooper, the monthly Women's Empowerment Art Therapy Workshops use the power of art-making to reduce stigma, build community, and empower women living with HIV. If you are a woman living with HIV and are interested in learning more about and/or participating in a workshop, please contact Shirlene at [email protected]

Gallery Talk: Nick Mauss on Nicolas Moufarrege
Sunday, February 16, 3PM, FREE

Artist Nick Mauss will discuss Moufarrege's influence on his own work. Nick Mauss is an artist based in New York. His 2018 exhibition Transmissions at the Whitney Museum of American Art blurred the boundaries between an historical exhibition and an artwork, examining the social and aesthetic interdependence of modernist ballet and avant-garde practices in pre-Stonewall New York.

Nicolas Moufarrege