Artery asked three individuals--each an activist, artist and/or writer,
professor and/or doctoral candidate--to ponder the jarring question: Does
anybody really care about AIDS-Arts activism?
So sit back and imagine a (virtual) panel discussion at which the moderator
introduces the symposium with the following comments:
"It's ironic that the time-honored axiom that every community has its own
AIDS epidemic seems increasingly apt today. We all know that for many people
with HIV/AIDS in the developed world, the situation has improved. But
obviously not for the burgeoning populations with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan
Africa, India, China, and the former Soviet Union. It's equally obvious that
the shape of the epidemic in the U.S. would have been quite different if one
of the first target populations of the virus hadn't been American, (mostly)
white, gay men. Despite enormous prejudice, there was still access to money,
media, and the arts. Indeed, the arts communities were among the hardest
hit. The situation is so different now--in the U.S. and abroad. How can we
as artists and/or activists make sense of it? Perhaps we can consider the
Is the arena of fine art still relevant in the struggle to encourage
prevention and find a cure for HIV infection?
This question raises larger and older questions: What is the role of art
in creating social consciousness?
Is popular culture a more fertile ground for disseminating progressive
messages than traditional arts institutions, such as those that have
participated in Day Without Art? Or the International AIDS Conferences that
have shown fairly anemic art?
How do we energize a new generation of activists? What role should the
Is there a posibility for a progressive public art? Or must public
artworks be bland to be acceptable?
Can international coalitions among culture workers or organizations be
established to create effective messages and outreach? Or does the local
response still produce the best results?
And now for the "panelists'" -
Richard Elovich, Gregg Bordowitz and Sarah Schulman.
We hope that their thoughtful and provocative responses
will inspire those of you in the virtual audience to respond, as well.
To do so, click the
"Send to the Visitor Forum".
Also visit Artery's Past Symposiums:
The Unfashionability of AIDS
AIDS - Arts Today