Depression, despair, despondency, longing, melancholia and heartbreak are unlikely emotions to trumpet at a time when anger and righteous indignation seem like the only affects we’re allowed to access for mass resistance and protest.
In her essay “Legacies of Trauma, Legacies of Activism” in the collection Loss: The Politics of Mourning, Ann Cvetkovich reflects, “The AIDS crisis, like any other traumatic encounters with death, has challenged our strategies for remembering the dead, forcing the invention of new forms of mourning and commemoration. The same is true, I would argue, …
Mirroring Hartman’s invocation of the ghosts of slavery to transform the present, Cy Gavin’s current exhibition At Heaven’s Command at Sargent’s Daughters enacts a similar personal and political pilgrimage. Rather than Ghana, Gavin’s vibrantly beautiful yet historically rich exhibition renders the results of tracing his own personal lineage to Bermuda.
Describing his later series Kandors, an extended reflection on Superman’s shrunken birthplace, Mike Kelley explains, “Kandor is a constant reminder of Superman’s lost homeland and functions metaphorically as a symbol of his alienated relationship to the planet where he now resides…Kandor now sits, frozen in time, a perpetual reminder of his inability to escape that …
Like Douglas Crimp’s seminal essay, Sean Strub’s Body Counts reflects both mourning and militancy, as well as everything in between, allowing the emotions connected to both queer sexuality and the AIDS crisis to be archived from shame to pride to love to guilt and immense grief.
Using the varying notions of skin from universal solitary confinement to a marker of identity to a means of communication, artist Martha Wilson and independent curator Larry List investigate the role of skin in art in their fabulously filthy titled exhibition Skin Trade at the P.P.O.W. Gallery.
Powerfully addressing both loss and its remains, Visual AIDS’s 25th anniversary exhibition Not Over: 25 Years of Visual AIDS at LaMaMa Galleria until June 30 presents art both created in the midst of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s and from the later generation of artists who continue to deal with the losses, memories and ghosts of AIDS.