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This Tuesday marks the twentieth anniversary of Day Without Art. Begun on December 1st, 1989, the Day Without Art (now known as Day With(Out) Art) was created to spread awareness of the destructive power of AIDS, “to make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone.” What was originally some 800 arts and AIDS groups based in the United States has grown to over 8,000 national and international museums, galleries, art centers, AIDS Service Organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges. It is important to stop and remember those who have passed and those who still survive with AIDS. Although the disease has faded in importance in the mainstream media it is still affecting over a million people in the U.S. with over 56,000 new infections occurring annually (as recently as 2006 - the latest year figures are available through the Center for Disease Control).

Museums in the area have traditionally presented performances and events to mark the date. I haven’t seen announcements from the various institutions in Boston but hopefully they are still taking part. If not, you should at least visit the ACT UP New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987—1993 exhibition currently installed at the Carpenter Center and the Harvard Art Museum in Harvard Square. The exhibition features “posters, stickers, and other visual media that emerged during a pivotal moment of AIDS activism in New York City along with the premiere of the ACT UP Oral History Project, a suite of over 100 video interviews with surviving members of ACT UP New York. On Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM Harvard will be presenting the World AIDS Day lecture: Seeing AIDS by Philip Yenawine, co-founding director, Visual Understanding in Education. Mr Yenawine was Director of Education at the Museum of Modern Art from 1983 to 1993 and worked directly with activists and artists. His talk will focus on the impact of AIDS on the cultural sector and artists' responses to the crisis.

In honor of this day I would like to present a short (and by no means comprehensive) list of figures in the art world that have died from AIDS This list is courtesy of The National Registry of Artists with AIDS. The National Registry is simultaneously a memorial to artists lost to AIDS and a tool for researchers and students. According to a forward on the site written by Patrick Moore and taken from his book BEYOND SHAME: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sex:

The power of names can be felt in two great public monuments of our time—the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. These monuments function in seemingly different ways—one static and hard, resounding with a quiet power, and the other ephemeral and exuberant with emotion. One was created through the vision of the architect Maya Lin, while the other was a loose framework constructed to hold the work of thousands of anonymous participants. Both have at their heart a list of names and the idea that the accumulation of these names bestows importance on the lost lives they represent.

It would certainly be arrogant to think that the process of compiling the following list of names of American artists lost to AIDS could be compared with the act of creating something like the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Still, it does represent a first step toward recognizing the enormity of the impact of AIDS on the American creative community.

Please take the time to read through the list of figures and reflect. Feel free to add names in the comments section.

Peter Adair, Kevin Adams, Alvin Ailey, Carlos Alfonzo, Mark Allen, Sam Allen, Carlos Almaraz, Carl Apfelschnitt, Aaron Apgar, Chuck Arnett, Steven Arnold, Ed Aulerich, Cory Roberts Auli, Sugai Hasan Baharin, Osvaldo Barrocal, Paul Bartel, Crawford Barton, Charles Bell, Eric Bemisderfer, Wendy Bennet-Adler, Copy Berg, Robert Blanchon, Christopher Boccadori, John Bommer, Richard Booton, Angel Borrero, Juan Suarez Botas, Bern Boyle, Kenneth Bowman, E. John Bragg, Joe Brainard, William J. Branton, Arthur Bresson, Thomas Francis Briggs, Richard Brintzenhofe, Jon Fernando Brito, Wilfredo Brito, John Eric Broaddus, Howard Brookner, Roger Brown, Jack Brusca, Brian Buczak, Wayne Buidens, Robert Bullinger, Mark Bulman, Abbot Burns, Scott Burton, Jerome Caja, Brian Campbell, David Carpender, Jack Carroll, Patti Chastain Haag, George Choy, Craig Coleman, Michael Colgan, Cyril Collard, Tim Collins, Walter Compton, Ruffin Cooper, Harold Cortes, Vincent Cosby, Max Coyer, Bruce Cratsley, Lucretia Crichlow, Jackie Curtis, Charles G. Cyberski, Fidel Danieli, David Cannon Dashiell, Richard Davenport, John B. Davis, Peter Deatt, Guy De Cointet, Jimmy DeSana, Porfirio DiDonna, Humberto Dionisio, Kenneth Donohue, John Dorr, Juan Downey, Kevin Driscoll, Mario Dubsky, Carrie Duran, Sean Earley, Stephen Edlich, Marie Edwards, Michael Eisenman, Garland Eliason-French, Darrel Ellis, Terry Ellis, Pepe Espaliu, Michael Everett, Roderick Ewing, Gary Falk, Robert Farber, Arnold Fern, Miguel Ferrando, Henrique DeSouza Filho, Robert Flack, Edward C. Flood, Bruno Fonseca, Billy Forlenza, Hollis Frampton, Luis Frangella, Barry Frederick, Sam Frinzi, Adam Gale, Paul Gannon, Fernando Garcia, Dana Garrett, William Gatewood, Bubba Geiger, Michael Goepferd, Roy Gonsalves, Juan Gonzalez, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ken Goodman, Robert Gordy, Tim Goslin, Sylvia Granewista, Tim Greathouse, Michael Green, Tony Greene, Alex Greenfield, Michael Gruenwald, William R. Haines, James Hansen, Russ Hansen, Terry Hanson, Keith Haring, Joseph C. Hartney Jr., Craig M. Hawley, Paul Hayes, Doug Haynes, Don Hill, Frank Hill, Kent Hines, Rodney Hines, Leon Hirszman, Guy Hocquenghem, Richard Hoffman, Will Horwitt, Michael Hosner, Peter Hujar, W. Benjamin Incerti, Frank Israel, Roger Jacoby, Derek Jarman, Eric Jazman, Tim Jocelyn, Tom Joslin, Leslie Kaliades,, Adrian L. Kellard Jr., Peter Kelloran, Douglas Kenney, Ray Keyton, David Knudsvig, Ken Kostovny, Alan Krause, John Henry Larabee, Julian Latrobe, Thomas P. Licari, Marc Lida, Kenneth Lithgow, Gin Louie, Steven Lott, Sheldon Lurie, Donald R. Lynn, Dell Madill, Daniel Mahoney, Jay Manning, Robert Mapplethorpe, Rick Marek, David A. Martin, Galen Martinez, Thomas McBride, Gerrard McCarthy, Robert McDonald, Curt McDowell, Kenneth McGowan, James Ray McCleskey, Bill McNeill, Daniel Melgarejo, Steven Terman Mendelson, Andrew Meyer, Mundo Meza, Karl Michalak, Andy Milligan, Blaine Mitchell, Ronald Bruce Monroe, Frank Moore, Leonard Moore, Rob Moore, Rod Morrell, Mark Morrisroe, Nicolas Moufarrege, Jeffrey Mzientz, Ray Navarro, Barry Nelson, Lowell Nesbitt, Mark Niblock-Smith, Klaus Nomi, Robert Nyland, Robert Michael O'Brien, Gustavo Ojeda, Ken Olsen, Sam Orwen, Randal Pacheco, Costa Pappas, Felix Partz, Erik Paulo, Michael Paulson, Doug Pearl, Joseph A. Pecsenke, Angel Perez, Jay Phillips, Noland Poole, David Potash, Dennis Price, Carl Ramos, Rory Ransom, Robert Allen Reed, Joseph Reeds, Jim Reva, Rodrigo Reyes, Rod Rhodes, Marlon Riggs, Beau Riley, Andy Roberson, Cory Roberts-Auli, Nelson Rodriguez, Stephen Romano, Miguel Ronguillo, Thomas Block Rubnitz, Randal Rupert, Daniel Salazar, Adolfo Sanchez, Rene Santos, Dean Savard, Ron Sawhill, Richard Schmiechen, Johnny David Scipio, Andreas Senser, Andrew Shea, Michael Slocum, Bebe Smith, Duncan Smith, Jack Smith, Jersey Smith, Rupert Jason Smith Jr., Huck Snyder, Don Sorenson, Daniel Sotomayor, Harry Soviak, Ted Spagna, Ted Stamm, George Stavrinos, David Stebler, Hugh Steers, Don Sterton, Hugh Sweeney, Bill Sykes, Steven Tangalakis, Warren Tanner, Tony Tavarosi, Paul Thek, Dennis Thibodeau, Michael Tiffany, William Lincoln Tisdale, Stanley Toplif, Tomas Touron, Fred Trant, Kwong Chi Tseng, Osman Tyner, Julio Ugay, Herk Van Tongeren, Stephen Varble, Chuck Vetter, Michael Vivo, Chris Von Wangenheim, Alan Walker, James O. Watson, Adam Waugaman, Bruce Weinberg, Kirk Winslow, Bruce Witsiepe, Gordon Wolter, David Wojnarowicz, Martin Wong, Bill Wright, Jorge Zontal

Day With(Out) Art

About Author

James Nadeau is an independent curator, video artist and writer based in Boston. He is editor of Our Daily RED, the blog of arts journal Big RED & Shiny. He is a graduate of the Comparative Media Studies department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his undergraduate studies at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His video work has been screened internationally and he has presented papers on media and film at conferences nationally. He has programmed film and video in several festivals throughout New England and he is currently a technical instructor on film in the Literature Department at MIT. He is currently working on a manuscript on reality television under consideration by Lexington Books.

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