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Milwaukee Art Museum acquires Taryn Simon photograph symbolic art thanks to community benefactor
Taryn Simon. "Live HIV, HIV Research Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts", 2007. Purchase, with funds from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund, given in memory of Robert Johnson. Photo © Taryn Simon, Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery.
MILWAUKEE, WIS.- The Milwaukee Art Museum announced a new acquisition, purchased with funds from the Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, given by Milwaukee philanthropist and community advocate Joseph R. Pabst. The acquisition is in recognition of World AIDS Day and will be on view December 1 through December 9.

“Live HIV, HIV Research Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts” by Taryn Simon was exhibited last year as part of the exhibition Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts and is a photograph of a vial containing the live HIV virus, taken at an HIV research laboratory at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. The image was included in the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), which comprises photographs and texts revealing objects and sites that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology, or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public.

“I was moved when I saw this work on view in the Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts exhibition. To me, it is a stunning reminder of the millions of people who live with HIV, and those who have lost their battle,” said Joseph Pabst. “The Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund was created to improve our community through arts and education, and I can think of no better way to highlight the continuing epidemic of HIV and AIDS than by publicly showcasing artwork that reminds us that our work is not done.”

Simon is a noted young photographer who has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her images have appeared in numerous publications. By highlighting the precarious and often unreliable seams between photographic imagery, textual material, and definitive knowledge, Simon’s art draws attention to habits of inference and judgment. Given a contemporary world rife with images and information, her work speaks to issues that affect the world.

“The Museum is grateful to Mr. Pabst for his donation and his continued support of the Museum and our community at large,” said Daniel Keegan, Museum director. “Art is meant to inspire, and I hope that this photograph will inspire others on World AIDS Day and beyond.”

World AIDS Day is acknowledged each year on December 1. It is estimated that over thirty-four million people worldwide are infected with HIV or AIDS, and over thirty million have died from the disease since it was first identified over twenty years ago.



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