Sunday, August 03, 2008

SIDE X SIDE Exhibition and Reading

Kate Huh, Sara Marcus & Eileen Myles
Reading - Monday Aug. 4th

La MaMa La Galleria
6 E. 1st Street, New York City
between Bowery & 2nd Avenue

Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 1-6 PM

SIDE X SIDE includes works by Scott Burton, Kate Huh, Nicholas
Moufarrege, Martin Wong and Carrie Yamaoka. The exhibition considers the impact of AIDS on a generation of artists faced with the onset of the epidemic. Beginning around 1980, as the first cases of what we now know as HIV were being diagnosed, the arts community in particular was hit hard, and once again artists were first responders to crisis. In the face of confusion and terror, artists engaged and responded to the needs of their communities, sharing information and productively
affecting change through non-traditional modes of activism.

This exhibition is not about AIDS per se. These artists allude to the
epidemic in ways both direct and more nuanced. Their practices run
parallel to a collective cultural catastrophe that intersects with many
societal injustices and crises. SIDE X SIDE shows these artists work
over time, with an acute awareness of crisis and its impact on them.

In the 70s, equal rights movements initiated by women, queers, blacks,
Latinos, and other minorities proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that
the personal is political. By the 80s, paradigms shifted once again.
As the artistic community took the representation of the epidemic into
its own hands, mainstream media began to pay more attention. "The AIDS
movement, like other radical movements, creates itself as it attempts
to represent itself," wrote Gregg Bordowitz in 1988.* The voices of
people with AIDS were now being heard. In addition, groups like ACT UP
and fierce pussy (of which Carrie Yamaoka was a founding member) were
instrumental in bringing change and transforming attitudes in a world
that is not without its prejudices. Moreover, artists provided vital
information to people in the streets. Activist tendencies followed
some artists into their studios, where they told more personal stories.

* Bordowitz, Gregg, "Picture A Coalition." AIDS: Cultural
Analysis/Cultural Activism. Ed. Douglas Crimp. Boston: MIT Press,
1988. P 195.


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