Day With(out) Art/World AIDS Day is December 1.
Find out what's going on in your community by visiting
the listings on our events calendar.
The Estate Projects "1989" benefit-portfolio features work by artists
honoring artists including Chuck Close's hommage to Peter Hujar, Nan
Goldin's to Cookie Mueller, Lari Pittman's to Liberace and the like. The
porfolio, named for the seminal year that Robert Mapplethorpe and many
others died, goes on view (and sale) on November 30 at the Curt Marcus
Gallery, 578 Broadway, in New York. It can be seen there until January 6th.
For additional info call 212-296-3200 or email
A Virtual Memorial
We used to think of memorials as physical things, deriving much of their
meaning from their actual location. But the Internet has changed all that. A
German, media-art project a-virtual-memorial
is an online site
intended to engage the Really Big Questions: Individual and collective
responsibility for everything ranging from the Holocaust to the disappeared
in Argentina, and from homelessness to AIDS. A Virtual Memorial is a site
where artists' projects can be housed or linked, and exchange furthered
through the planned forum. There's also art and text works of the month. As
its founders remind us, the heart of a computer is memory.
During December, "A Virtual Memorial" showcases works from Artery and the Estate Project.
$4.41-Day Without Oil (Day Without AIDS)
by Jay Critchley
We've imagined and witnessed a Day Without Art. What about a Day Without Oil? Imagine
no pollution-airplanes, trucks, cars, Sports Futility Vehicles would sit idle for a
whole day. How deeply could we breath? How far could we see? How far could we imagine?
Is it a coincidence or oversight that as Big Oil has taken center stage once again-George
"Oil My Lips" Bush, Jr- HIV remains in the shadows, under the veil of carbon dioxide
emissions? And the rain forests-immune system for the earth- need to breath as well,
and maintain the health of the condom-producing rubber trees.
Lubrication. Day Without Oil proposes that we take the money we spend on petroleum
consumption, $4.41 each per day-which equals 3.15 gallons per day per person, times
roughly $1.40/gallon (averaging in both expensive gasoline, 50% of consumption, and other
less expensive fuels such as jet, diesel, heating, distillate, etc.)-and donate it to
an AIDS organization, or treat a friend with HIV. A penny saved is a penny earned:
$114,660,000 nation-wide for only one day! Simple, and clean.
Is there a connection between the fact that the US consumes 33% of the world's energy
with only 5% of its population, and, the fact that in the US there are 110 new HIV
infections per day compared with 14,795 per day worldwide? Are we only protecting ourselves
and each other from gushing HIV-tainted cum with condoms, only to live in a world without
such protection for the other 95%, and from gushing crude? Day Without Oil will be a day
to pause, reflect, and collect on what a Day Without AIDS might look like for all living
Self-Portrait with Blackeye
Self-Portrait with Juno
John Dugdale's Blue Period
by Patrick Moore
Filmmaker Karen Murray first met John Dugdale in 1998 during the launch of
the Estate Project's Virtual Collection. Like so many others who have met
the charismatic photographer, she was fascinated by him. The ultimate
product of her fascination is "Life's Evening Hour," a 48-minute documentary
about Dugdale and his ongoing struggle with AIDS.
It is nearly impossible to tell John Dugdale's dramatic story without
falling prey to the sentimental or the overwrought. The former fashion
photographer lost most of his sight to CMV retinitis and an HIV-related
stroke. Despite this he has evolved a system of working that enables him to
develop and further his artistic vision. Dugdale continues to create images
in his mind. If they are sometimes realized through his assistant's
focusing and composing, the photographs remains unmistakably Dugdale's.
Far from being a weeper, Murray's film nearly inspires envy for Dugdale
himself. His physical beauty, talent and grace is likely to astonish every
viewer, well or ill. But one suspects that what is now compelling about
Dugdale might once have seemed offputtingly perfect. His illness allows for
intense viewer identification. Yet even Dugdale seems enthralled with the
undeniable drama of his life as seen in his onscreen response to his
mother's wish that she could give him her eyes. "I wouldn't want them," he
says. " I wouldn't want to interrupt this experience I'm having."
Dugdale's relationship with his mother, Rose, is one aspect of the film that
might elicit tears. His portraits of Rose, his siblings and his father are
powerful and reflect a family bond that is truly inspirational. An example:
When John was small, Rose asked him what he wanted for his birthday. His
wish to shop at every nearby antique store was unhesitatingly fulfilled.
As for Dugdale's work, it is a testament to his talent that it transcends
the rigid parameters imposed by the cyanotype process. Selected because of
its ease and lack of toxicity, the resulting, ghostly-blue-toned cynotypes
have become Dugdale's trademark. Extremely emotive, the pictures are aptly
described by the artists as "both old-fashioned and modern, existing out of
time." Surprisingly, he also likens the color of the pictures to the famous
blue pearl reportedly seen in deep meditation. Indeed, it is a feeling of
deep serenity that the pictures convey.
Dugdale's subjects are often nude; his own physical beauty and that of his
friends is apparently not lost on him. In several scenes in the film,
Dugdale disrobes unselfconsciously as if to simply display another object of
beauty that fits nicely within the beautiful world he creates in his
photographs. The influence of his earlier fashion work is visible in the
effortless evocation of masculine beauty that characterizes the photos.
This sometimes complex film offers an usual paradox: That it is perhaps too
easy to accept Dugdale's terrible struggles because of his charm and beauty.
However, in one of the film's better moments, Dugdale reenacts the terror
and frustration of getting lost in his front yard at dusk. As the artist
stumbles awkwardly, weeping, across a small stretch of lawn that has
suddenly become a limitless expanse, the scale of his accomplishment, both
in art and life, becomes apparent.
"Life's Evening Hour" has been seen on Canadian television and will soon
appear at numerous US festivals. For additional scheduling information,
please contact email@example.com
- Patrick Moore is Executive Director of the Estate Project for Artists With
ACT UP/Chicago "Honored"
by Mary Patten
On Tuesday evening, October 17, 2000, ACT UP/Chicago was inducted into the
Chicago Lesbian and Gay Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame (or "Hall of Shame,"
as some have called it) is a city-sponsored institution which hosts a
yearly self-congratulatory bash attended by the Mayor, the "luminaries" of
the mainstream LGBT communities, various local politicians, and the media.
How did it come to pass that an organization, once notorious for hounding
Mayor Richard M. Daley for the city's deplorable record on AIDS, was now
positioned to receive an honor from him, complete with commemorative plaque
and publicity photo?
A few months earlier, some former members of ACT UP/Chicago decided to
nominate the organization posthumously, as a way to open up some critical
space to address the fact that AIDS is not over, not in Chicago, not
anywhere. These folks put out the word as broadly as possible to the
surviving members of ACT UP/Chicago still living in the city. A group of
approximately twenty people began to meet in September to devise a response.
After much discussion and argument, in a process which both honored the
memory of the political culture we had all shared, and which replicated
many of the old dynamics of the group--alternately funny, infuriating, and
sad --we agreed on a plan of action.
The choreographed routine requires that the inductees sit quietly with the
Mayor on a dais while their tributes are read, and then take turns shaking
hands with the him while posing for an official photo. We agreed to attend
the event, but we decided to act and dress as pall-bearers at the political
funeral of a dead organization. We didn't have coffins or other props, but
observed a code of dress and conduct consistent with a solemn response. We
stood together in two flanks facing the stage, silent until the announcement
for the award to ACT UP/Chicago was made. We then took the stage, turned to
the audience, and delivered our testimony (see below).
Some in the audience seemed to cringe at the prospect that we would ruin
the party by shouting down their beloved Mayor. Instead, we simply ignored
him. Maybe our refusal to celebrate what was, at best, an empty gesture,
and at worst, an attempt at absorption and co-optation, was the most potent
thing we could muster from our depleted arsenal.
The sadness and ironies which riddled the occasion were reinforced by the
absence of Paul Adams, one of the most vocal participants in the planning
process. Paul, who had been vociferous in arguing against what he saw as an
overly-passive approach, wanted us to demand from the city a real and
effective safer sex/condom distribution campaign for junior-high and high
school-age youth. But Paul was too ill to attend, and his voice was absent.
Three weeks after the event, he died.
What follows is the collaboratively-authored text that we took turns reading
"Some of us are long-term survivors of AIDS. Some of us are struggling for
our lives. Others are care-givers and AIDS administrators. Many of us are
activists around a host of issues. All of us are former members of ACT
UP/Chicago. We have all sustained many losses because of this plague, and
have fought hard against it.
"None of us can speak for, or fully represent, ACT UP/Chicago. ACT UP is
dead, as are so many of the friends, lovers, comrades and colleagues who
gave it shape - struggling hard for years, not just to save their own
lives, but to agitate, educate, and organize to end the AIDS epidemic.
"We refuse to believe that these efforts and sacrifices were in vain. Yet,
what are we to think when so many of the the same demands and the same
needs remain unanswered, after 16 years and millions of deaths? What does
it mean that this summer, at a women's conference in Nigeria, President
Clinton, who betrayed so many promises to people with AIDS, co-opted the
famous ACT UP slogan, '...we need to fight AIDS, not people with AIDS'?
"Some would call this progress. We're not so sure.
"Many people see this event tonight as a celebratory occasion, part of a
long process of honoring LGBT individuals and organizations who have
contributed to 'our community.' But for us, this event is full of tragic
ironies. At the very point when there seems to be a 'consensus' that 'the
AIDS crisis is over,' a point of view with which we profoundly disagree, it
finally seems 'safe' enough, 'distant' enough, to include ACT UP/Chicago in
the 'official' LGBT pantheon. To us, however, this occasion is more like a
"What does it mean if any of us in this room congratulate ourselves on
'finally' recognizing ACT UP/Chicago as part of the 'official history' of
the Chicago LGBT community? or of 'finally' being recognized by the City of
"Each of us here yearns for our communities to honor the memory of ACT
UP/Chicago. We all want to see this activism encoded, and not erased, from
a chapter of militant queer history and the struggle for social justice in
this country. But ACT UP/Chicago can never be adequately honored by a
plaque, just as ACT UP can never be represented by any of us as
individuals. It is not appropriate for any one of us to accept an award on
the behalf of a dead organization.
"But we can bear witness. We each have stories to tell..."