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Panelists Ericka Hart, Lauraberth Lima, and Abdul-Aliy Muhammad in conversation for "Once There Were Many" with moderation by Programs Associate Blake Paskal


Since shifting to working from home in March 2020, we have adapted our programs to the realities and urgencies of this year. This fall especially, we produced several engaging programs, so we wanted to share a quick recap of what we've been up to over the past few months.

Please note that the Visual AIDS office remains closed to the public, and staff will be primarily working from home this winter. The best way to contact us is to email a staff member directly or reach out to [email protected].

Fall 2020 Recap

Digital Surveillance, Privacy, and Preservation in Community-based Archives, (October 22)

A conversation and interactive workshop considering the ethics of digital archiving, with Steven Booth & Stacie Williams, Marika Cifor, Yo-Yo Lin & J. Soto, and Yvette Ramírez, moderated by Tracy Fenix.

In this interactive program, archivists and audience members critically examined how concerns around surveillance and privacy intersect with archival practices, and discussed how living, community-based digital archives can build caring policies that best serve BIPOC and marginalized communities. The event began with a panel discussion, followed by breakout sessions where attendees were invited to collectively reimagine and rescript digital preservation policies for the Visual AIDS' Artist+ Registry. Click here to watch a recording of the event.

As we continue to finalize the digital preservation guidelines for our Registry we encourage both Artist Members and community members to respond to our ongoing digital preservation conversation. Your feedback better supports us with our community-based collection development process. After watching the program documentation head to this questionnaire link to provide additional feedback. Please check back in early 2021 to access the digital preservation policy for the Visual AIDS Artist+ Registry and Archive Project.


Once There Were Many: Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Medicine, (November 11)

Once There Were Many brought together three critically engaged writers, activists, thinkers—Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, Ericka Hart, and Lauraberth Lima—to reflect during a year of incalculable loss of Black life at the hands of white supremacy. Moderated by Programs Associate Blake Paskal, panelists discussed medical racism, its history and the institutional structures that purposefully ensure Black people are the least cared for and affirmed in their medical treatment. Click here to read more about the event. See below for the event recording.


Day With(out) Art 2020: TRANSMISSIONS, (Nov. 30 & Dec. 1)

For Day With(out) Art 2020, Visual AIDS presented TRANSMISSIONS, a program of six new videos considering the impact of HIV and AIDS beyond the United States. The video program brings together artists working across the world: Jorge Bordello (Mexico), Gevi Dimitrakopoulou (Greece), Las Indetectables (Chile), Lucía Egaña Rojas (Chile/Spain), Charan Singh (India/UK), and George Stanley Nsamba (Uganda).

The program does not intend to give a comprehensive account of the global AIDS epidemic, but provides a platform for a diversity of voices from beyond the United States, offering insight into the divergent and overlapping experiences of people living with HIV around the world today. The six commissioned videos cover a broad range of subjects, such as the erasure of women living with HIV in South America, ineffective Western public health campaigns in India, and the realities of stigma and disclosure for young people in Uganda.

To watch the six videos and the panel discussion with the artists that followed the premiere head to: https://dwa.visualaids.org/Watch-TRANSMISSIONS.

TRANSMISSIONS Press:

With the challenges brought on from COVID-19 this year making it harder to hold in-person screenings, it was even more important that we find ways to promote this year's virtual screening of Day With(out) Art 2020: TRANSMISSIONS. See below for a sampling of the press we received, including news interviews with Executive Director Esther McGowan and DWA artist Jorge Bordello.

CBS Local, New York
ABC 7, New York
Boston Review

Strip AIDS 2020

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Strip AIDS 2020 is a series of new comics addressing contemporary aspects of the ongoing HIV pandemic, commissioned by Visual AIDS and curated by Paul Sammut. Featuring work by J. Amaro & A. Andrews, Carlo Quispe, Mel Rattue, and Inés Ixierda & Clio Sady.

Originally intended to complement our summer 2020 exhibition on the theme of comics and AIDS activism, we presented these comics virtually in fall 2020, and will now produce print versions during the exhibition, scheduled to take place in summer 2021.

We also launched our first podcast in conjunction with Strip AIDS 2020. Hosted by Alexandro Segade, our first season of podcasts feature the artists of Strip AIDS 2020 in conversation with fellow AIDS activists to discuss themes and issues that are brought up in each comic.

Listen to the podcast through any of the sites below:

The comics commissions and related events are funded in part by the New York Community Trust's DIFFA Fund and Humanities New York.

Women's Empowerment Art Therapy Group

Our monthly Women's Empowerment Art Therapy Group has also continued in a virtual space, connecting women living with HIV around the country through conversations about art and art making. For our online events, we've put the emphasis on learning about artists and their work and sharing our concerns and needs related to COVID-19. We were also able to distribute art packets with watercolor painting supplies for extended artistic exploration. We hope to be back to hosting in-person art-making workshops in 2021. If you would like to become a part of the group, email Shirlene Cooper at [email protected]. We thank the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and Majority Leader of the New York City Council Laurie A. Cumbo for supporting this program.

Office Hours for Artist Members

This spring, we began organizing weekly online Office Hours for Artist Members, creating a virtual space for artists living with HIV to connect and share with us and with each other amid the pandemic. We've loved catching up with artists who've been joining us from London, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Philadelphia and other locations, as well as from New York City. If you are an Artist Member and would like to receive email invitations to join Office Hours (which are now scheduled monthly), contact Tracy Fenix at [email protected].

COVID-19 Emergency Grants

To address the ongoing financial needs created by COVID-19, we continued our COVID-19 Emergency Grant for Artist Members, temporarily replacing our annual Materials Grants program. For the second round in November, we distributed $24,000 in $400 cash grants to 60 artists living with HIV. The next round of grants will be distributed in summer 2021. (Please note: this grant program is only open to artists living with HIV who are Visual AIDS Artist Members. For more information, contact Tracy Fenix at [email protected].)


Winter 2020-2021 PREVIEW

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Postcards from the Edge, (January 8-22, 2021)

2021 will mark the 23rd year of Visual AIDS' benefit art sale and we hope that you will participate. Postcards from the Edge is Visual AIDS’ most popular and successful annual benefit event. It is not only a highlight of the art world each year for artists and collectors, but also provides essential funding to help us carry out our mission and programming.

This year's event will be virtual. Click here for more information about how this year's event will work.

Books, books, and more books!

Throughout 2020, we have been working on four new books, generously funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. New volumes of our DUETS series will be published early 2021. DUETS 7 pairs Frederick Weston and Samuel R. Delany in conversation about Weston's creative practice and their shared histories in Times Square. DUETS 8 delves into the life and work of William Olander, an influential curator at the New Museum who co-founded Visual AIDS before passing away in 1989. Julie Ault and David Deitcher will illuminate Olander's visionary work and lasting influence.

2021 will see the publication of a monograph on the artist Darrel Ellis (1958-1992) and a book detailing the three decade history of Day With(out) Art.

Want more? Catch up on our
recent web galleries and past programs:

Let My Prescence Be the Refusal
December 2020 | Curated by Kat Cheairs
Artistic Convergence

November 2020 | Curated by Pratt MFA students: Jack Byers, Aria Han, Lizzy Li, Monifa Mayo, Jan Rattia, Madeleine Riande, and Nizza Rodriguez
Of Dirt & Water

October 2020 | Curated by Sebastián Castro Niculescu
Ampler than Loneliness: Documenting Collective Resilience Through HIV/AIDS and COVID-19

September 2020 | Curated by Journey Streams
See the accompanying Artist+ Member interviews for the Sept gallery here.

Visit our Vimeo page to see 200+ videos, including short videos by contemporary artists commissioned for Day With(out) Art, documentation of past programs, and more!

A full history of Visual AIDS programming is also available on our website here.