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Posted Feb 14 2011 3:24pm

By Julie Intartaglia



W. Benjamin Incerti, Untitled, 1991, silver gelatin print, 42" x 30"


Using the collection of images at Visual AIDS, I wanted to create an on-line gallery about the relation between art and militancy against AIDS. I am particularly interested in the power of art to highlight a cause and to increase public awareness. In the case of the AIDS crisis, art is often used to show the reality of the situation of people living with HIV/AIDS. It’s also use to express how some people living with HIV/AIDS feel. Art activists help bring visibility to those living with the AIDS in our society, and to fight the indifference, ignorance and  isolation they face.

In viewing the artwork in the Archive Project at Visual AIDS, I saw images from protest and direct action of ACT UP - an activist organization which continues to fight against AIDS. I begin with these photographs, to represent the history of AIDS activist, however I also wanted to include other types of art works like graphic, fabrications and installations, to show that the artistic response to end the AIDS crisis has taken multiple forms.

Much of the activist art works against AIDS have been created for a public space or from actions in a public arena. This is the case for the photographs of the actions of ACT UP taken by W. Benjamin Incerti and Brent Nicholson Earle but this is also the case for the graphic art of Keith Haring and Carlos Gutierrez-Solana. They have both made pieces intended to be seen by the al many people possible, with the objective to pass on prevention messages about HIV/AIDS and to encourage people to reflect on AIDS. The work of Valerie Caris, Max Greenberg and Joe DeHoyos take a more intimate approach, exhibiting in art galleries, their work is concerned with more personal issues, such as medication, infections and the medical analysis that rhythms the every-day life of people who live with HIV/AIDS. 

AIDS is a disease which concerns both the private and public life, because the fight is both political and intimate - this selection of works attempt to shed light on these issues.


Julie Intartaglia is a student in Sociology of Cultural Policies at Paris-Diderot University and a member of ACT UP Paris - an activist organization fighting against AIDS. Last year, she have written a thesis for her Master's degree about the activist art against the AIDS crisis at the end of the 80's and at the beginning of the 90's in New York City.



W. Benjamin Incerti, Untitled, 1991, silver gelatin print, 42" x 30"


W. Benjamin Incerti, Untitled, 1990, silver gelatin print, 42" x 30"


W. Benjamin Incerti, Untitled, 1990, silver gelatin print, 30" x 42"



W. Benjamin Incerti, Untitled, 1991, silver gelatin print, 42" x 30"


Brent Nicholson Earle, ACT UP 10th Anniversary Action, 3/24/97, III, 1997, chrome, 11" x 17"


Brent Nicholson Earle, Fair And Equitable?, 1996, color photograph, n.a.


Brent Nicholson Earle, Marching For Their Children, 1996, color photograph, n.a.


Keith Haring, Mural in Barrio de Chino, 1989, n.a., n.a.


Keith Haring, Poster for ACT UP, 1989, n.a. n.a.


 Carlos Gutierrez-Solana, More Than, 1994, digital collage, 8" x 10"


Joe DeHoyos, Celebrity AIDS: David Bowie, 1997, collage, 10.7" x 7.75"


Joe DeHoyos, Celebrity AIDS: Sinead O'Connor, 1997, collage, 10.7" x 7.75"


Max Greenberg, Good n' Plenty, 2002, silver gelatin print, n.a.


Max Greenberg, AIDS 101 - An Intensive, 1997, photography, 10" x 8"


 Max Greenberg, Medecine Man, 1997, silver gelatin print, 8" x 10"


Valerie Caris, Vestment, 1993, fabric & mixed media, n.a.


Valerie Caris, Vestment (back view), 1993, fabric & mixed media, n.a.

Valerie Caris Vestment (front detail), 1993, n.a., n.a.

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