New online exhibition explores humanity of those living with HIV/AIDS

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New online exhibition explores humanity of those living with HIV/AIDS
Clifford Prince King, Safe Space, 2020, archival inkjet print on Photo Rag Baryta, 48 x 32 inches, collection of the artist.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY.- The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College announced the online opening of Look After Each Other: Intimacy and Community. The student-curated exhibition features work by artists, activists, and documentarians who show the human side of life with HIV/AIDS beyond a medical diagnosis, revealing moments of intimacy, care, friendship, and more.

Organized by Nathan Bloom ’21, the 2020–21 Eleanor Linder Winter ’45 Endowed Intern, the exhibition presents the work — posters, magazine covers, drawings, video, fiber art, sculpture, and photography, most coming from the Tang’s growing collection — in five distinct, yet interrelated, sections: Performance, Livelihood, Memory, Outreach, and Joy.

The Performance section, for example, includes work by Hunter Reynolds from the Tang collection that documents his pivotal first performance as his alter ego, Patina DuPrey, who “cured” participants of Stendhal syndrome, a psychosomatic response to objects of beauty that includes rapid heartbeats and fainting. While the act of healing was performative, as there is no cure for Stendhal syndrome or HIV, the event gave those in the HIV community a moment to reflect on their trauma, to grieve, and to heal together.

The Livelihood section includes Clifford Prince King’s photograph Safe Space, which shows an intimate moment between three Black men: one sits on the floor reading James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room while a second man, sitting on a bed, braids the first man’s hair as a third man, laying on the bed, helps the second man smoke.

In the Joy section is Reverend Joyce McDonald’s sculpture Covered with Love, a Madonna and Child that reflects the importance the artist and HIV activist puts on family, and how hope, religion and healing are intertwined. Works such as this and others in the exhibition reflect moments in which people come together, celebrating the individuality and humanity of those living with HIV/AIDS.

The exhibition also includes work by and featuring Mary Berridge, Feliciano Centuriˇn, Jess T. Dugan, FASTW▄RMS, Robert Giard, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Alexander Hernandez, Don Herron, River Huston, John Kelly, Larry Kramer, Minority AIDS Project, Donald Moffett, The NAMES Project, POZ Magazine, Teddy Sandoval, Robert Sherer, Nelson Sullivan, Joey Terrill, and Scott Treleaven.

Look After Each Other continues the Museum’s tradition of Skidmore College students curating exhibitions. Bloom, an anthropology major, holds the 2020–21 Eleanor Linder Winter ’45 Endowed Internship. The exhibition is the capstone project of his year-long pre-professional internship and is supported by the Friends of the Tang and the Carter-Rodriguez Fund for Student-Curated Programs.

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