Beauty in Dark Places: Annotated Media Gallery

Introduction:

1) “Untitled”- W. Benjamin Incerti

Image: ” The AIDS Crisis Is Not Over”, W. Benjamin Incerti , 1991

This image by W. Benjamin Incerti was found on visualaids.org and is featured in my introduction. The image shows protesters involved in ACT Up Boston, protesting for more research and awareness to be put into the AIDS epidemic. I used this image because it is very simple and easy to understand, protesters want the world to know “The AIDS crisis is not over.”My project is about how art is used as a form of protest so this image is good for introducing that idea in a rather obvious way. Since this is an image of ACT UP in action it ties together well when I go on to explain the organization.

Acknowledging the Problem:

1) “AIDS: We need Research, Not Hysteria!”

Image: New York Historical Society

“A.I.D.S: we need research, not hysteria!” is a photo captured by Mario Suriani in 1983. The photo shows protesters on fifth avenue New york, advocating for more aids research. This photo was taken on june 27, 1983 during the 14th annual lesbian and gay pride parade. I used this image in my “acknowledging the problem” section because this section contains the most information about the AIDs virus and the beginning of this epidemic. With this in mind, “A.I.D.S: we- need  research, not hysteria ! ” seemed fitting to convey the urge and and increasing need for more research to cure/treat this growing epidemic in its early stage.

2) Larry Speakes Audio

Click here to listen.

The Larry Speakes  audio was provided by Scott Calonico who included it in a short film entitled “when AIDS was funny”. The film illustrated the attitude the reagan administration had towards the aids epidemic. The audio is of a press conference in which former president Reagan’s press spokesman responds to questions about the growing aids epidemic. The audio captures the press and Secretary making jokes about the virus and even referring to it as the “gay plague”. My purpose in including this audio was to show the attitude that the government and society had towards the AIDS in the earlier days of the epidemic and continued to have for years after. The audio would help bring much needed context to my writing which would emphasize the importance of art as protest and an emotional outlet.

Two of Thousands:

1) “Ray Underwood” Panel

Ray Underwood and Billy De’Acutis” panels are just two panels of thousands that are housed at the NAMES projects AIDS memorial quilt. My project aims to show the impact AIDS had on art during this epidemic, and to show art being used as a pain reliever and a bold form of protest. The AIDS memorial Quilts were created for both reasons; to memorialize and grieve their loved ones, as well as, to show the the government how many lives are being lost while they sit idly by. For this section I wanted to focus on the AIDS Quilts to show these powerful pieces of art and allow readers to see how personal and beautiful the art is. A reminder that there is beauty in the darkest places.

2) “Billy De’Acutis” Panel

Facing the Problems:

1) “The Government Has Blood on It’s Hands”- Gran Fury

“The Government Has Blood on Its Hands” 1988, Gran Fury. Poster

“The government has blood on its hands” poster was created by Gran Fury in 1988. Gran Fury was a group of 11 artists who used art to advocate for funding and research for AIDS and AIDS awareness. The poster includes the words “one AIDS death every half hour”, and it is obvious who they feel is responsible. Gran Fury’s  posters/art was always bold and directed towards individuals. This piece was putting the increasing amount death’s on th U.S. government, a sentiment many AIDS activist had. I chose this image for its boldness in blaming the government and the bloody hand print in the center, this use of art to call for action from the government fits my project perfectly.

2) “Not-About-AIDS-Dance”- Neil Greenburg

The “not- about- AIDS- dance”was choreographed by Neil Greenberg in 1994 after Greenberg lost his brother and eight other friends to AIDS. To deal with his grief and anger he created this dance in which he used projections to tell the audience of all of his loses, as well as, to inform them he is also HIV positive. My project speaks about art influenced by AIDS, so this was to show a different mode of art. Through dance Greenberg was able to connect with his audience and share his pain with all who watched. AIDS was used as fuel for his creativity and caused him to create emotional and moving art work.   

Conclusion:

1) “Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program”

The “Ryan White HIV/AIDS program” was created in 1990. The program still continues to provide medical care and support services to individuals infected with HIV in the United States. During it’s first years it provided 220.5 million dollars in federal funds for treatment and care, something desperately needed during this time. Although, my protest is based on art I felt it was important to speak about one positive response to the AIDS Epidemic. “The Ryan White HIV/AIDS program” was and continues to be beneficial and necessary and is a good example of some steps the government eventually made towards taking care of this epidemic.