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Art AIDS America

Alphawood Gallery

December 1, 2016–April 2, 2017

Art AIDS America, installation view, Alphawood Foundation (2016)

Art AIDS America, installation view, Alphawood Foundation (2016)

Poster (1990), Oil on canvas
Poster (1990)
Oil on canvas
42.25h x 51w in (107.31h x 129.54w cm)

Press Release

This groundbreaking exhibition underscores the deep and unforgettable presence of HIV in American art. It introduces and explores the whole spectrum of artistic responses to AIDS, from the politically outspoken to the quietly mournful, surveying works from the early 1980s to the present.

Art AIDS America 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 American in some way, and operated as an undeniable, though often unacknowledged, force in shaping politics, medicine, culture and society. 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 American 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.   

Art AIDS America was organized by Tacoma Art Museum in partnership with The Bronx Museum of the Arts. The exhibition is co-curated by Jonathan David Katz and Rock Hushka. The national tour is supported by the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and Gilead Sciences, Inc. The exhibition and catalogue have been made possible by support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

In Chicago, this exhibition is made possible by the Alphawood Foundation, a Chicago-based, grant-making private foundation working for an equitable, just and humane society. The exhibition will be presented in a new temporary space, the Alphawood Gallery, renovated for this purpose, located in the Foundation’s headquarters building.