The AIDS Activist Project

Work from “the AIDS activist project” is included in a New Exhibition at New York University


I attended the Opening Exhibit of  “positive/negative: HIV/AIDS”  last night at New York University. Seeing work from “the AIDS activist project” included with other artists, such as David Wojnarowicz and Hunter Reynolds, whose work influenced me so much, and who I respect as artists was humbling.

Among the works were video clips showing the “Day of Desperation”, when ACT UP took over Grand Central Terminal in NYC. This was the ultimate flash mob. The entire terminal was turned into an ACT UP action. Seeing that power again; going back to the days when people were literally fighting for their lives is incredible.

The exhibit will be on display and open to the public from October 12, 2015 through January 15, 2016. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Work from “the AIDS activist project” will be included in the new exhibition at Fales Library. The opening will be this Friday, October 9th at NYU’s Fales Library, 70 Washington Square South, 3rd floor.

Following is the exhibition descrition:

Culled from the archives of the Fales Library, positive/negative: HIV/AIDS examines both the compassionate and the callous responses to the AIDS epidemic (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in America during the 1980s and 1990s, with specific relation to politics, education, faith, and the arts.

 “Quite correctly, much historic record has emphasized the negative reactions that permeated the early years of AIDS,” said curator Brent Phillips, Fales media archivist. “However, through all the malice and death, scores of citizens banded together in a profound, positive manner.”

positive/negative: HIV/AIDS primarily features items from the Fales Downtown Collection, including archival documents, correspondence, photographs, posters, clothing, art works, literature, and rare audiovisual material that cover both the emergence of and reception to AIDS.  Also on view: Patina Du Prey’s Memorial Dress by Hunter Reynolds, unrealized art conceptions by artist David Wojnarowicz, and selections from Bill Bytsura’s ACT-UP photograph collection.

 “Fales did not intentionally set out to document this epidemic,” said Phillips. “But unquestionably the impact of AIDS proved devastating for the New York downtown arts scene in the 1980s and 1990s. The numerous archives that make up the Fales Downtown Collection reflect this violent disruption of imagination, the overwhelming loss, and also the nearly unprecedented humanitarian achievement AIDS motivated in New York – and throughout the country.“

I do hope you can stop by and see the exhibit!

-Bill Bytsura

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