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'Art AIDS America' coming Dec. 1
2016-11-02

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Art AIDS America—a groundbreaking exhibition that underscores the presence of HIV in art in this country—culminates its U.S. tour at the Alphawood Gallery, 2401 N. Halsted St., Dec. 1-April 2, 2017.

This temporary space has been created in a former bank by the Chicago-based Alphawood Foundation to bring the exhibition to its only Midwest venue.

This is the first exhibition to explore how the AIDS crisis forever changed American art. Since the first reports of mysterious illnesses in the early 1980s, HIV and AIDS have touched nearly every U.S. resident in some way. While acknowledging and honoring the enormous anger, loss and grief generated by the epidemic, the exhibition refutes the narrative that AIDS is only a tragic tangent in U.S. art. Instead, Art AIDS America offers a story of resilience and beauty revealed through the visual arts, and of the communities that gathered to bring hope and change in the face of a devastating disease.

The Chicago presentation of Art AIDS America will feature more than 100 significant contemporary works in a wide range of media—from oil on canvas and photography to three-dimensional installations and video. The artists represented include Judy Chicago, Chloe Dzubilo, Karen Finley, Robert Gober, Félix GonzÃílez-Torres, Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Derek Jackson, Kia Labeija, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kiki Smith, Joey Terrill, David Wojnarowicz and Martin Wong. Added to the traveling exhibition exclusively for its Chicago presentation will be works by a variety of other artists, among them major works by famed Chicago Imagist Roger Brown.

Racial and ethnic minorities have historically and presently not benefited from the same visibility as white male artists in shaping the narrative of the epidemic. The Chicago presentation of Art AIDS America will include additional works by artists, as well as programming, focused specifically on expanding the exhibition's inclusivity. Related programming in the form of panels, discussions and performances will explore how the underlying issues of race, politics, culture and institutional practice have created barriers to more equitable representation.

Admission to the exhibition will be free with timed tickets; it opens on World AIDS Day. Prior to Chicago, Art AIDS America will have appeared at the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington state, the Zuckerman Museum in suburban Atlanta and the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York City.

Major support for the exhibition and catalogue has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Additional support for the U.S. tour was provided by the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and by Gilead Sciences.

Tickets will be accessible this fall by visiting ArtAIDSAmericaChicago.org .


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