The AIDS crisis has not yet ended, and neither has related activism and art making. In this presentation Cassidy Gardner and Theodore (ted) Kerr will explore art and culture emerging from the epidemic, from the 1980s to the present. They will discuss the foundational work of The Silence Equals Death collective, ACT UP, Gran Fury, General Idea and fierce pussy, as well as the recent work from Visual AIDS, QUEEROCRACY, GrenAIDS, and the What Would an HIV Doula Do? collective. By looking at this wealth of creative output together, one sees the role collaboration, and the remixing of history and strategies has on how we see the epidemic, and how we then respond though art and activism. Behind every image there is suffering, skills, an idea of what has worked in the past, personal relationships, an ax or two to grind, and—fundamentally—hope.
After our conversation, participants are invited to come upstairs to our studios to create homemade Valentine’s to distribute through Love Positive Women, a call to action by the International Community of Women Living with HIV.
Love Positive Women (LPW) is an annual global holiday that uses social media to link local grassroots gestures of love. Using Valentine’s Day as a backdrop, LPW creates a platform for individuals and communities to engage in public and private acts of love and caring for women living with HIV. Going beyond romantic love to deep community love and social justice, LPW is a call to action. PAAM will provide collage materials, glue sticks, card stock, and scissors. Please bring along any materials you would like to use for the project.
Cassidy Gardner is the founder and former co-director of QUEEROCRACY, NYC based activist organization cultivating the leadership of queer folks and people living with HIV/AIDS. She is also a member of the artist collective GrenAIDS which she founded alongside Kia Labeija. Her accolades consist of the Health GAP Grassroots Activist Award for QUEEROCRACY and the Jews for Racial + Economic Justice Justice Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk Taker Award on behalf of ACT UP. Her work on queer immigration has been presented at the Museum of Art + Design and she has been a guest professor at Parsons School of Design and School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has led her to speak at the The New Museum, National Lawyers Guild Conference and the International AIDS pre-conference.
Canadian born Theodore (ted) Kerr is a Brooklyn based writer, organizer and artist. His work focuses primarily on HIV/AIDS, and community. He received his MA in Theology at Union Theological Seminary. He is currently teaching at The New School. He was the Programs Manager at Visual AIDS. His writing has appeared in POZ, The Advocate, Lambda Literary, IndieWire, Cineaste, Women Studies Quarterly, Drain, and many other publications. His art will be seen in the upcoming exhibition, ” One Day…” at the DuPaul Museum. He is a founding member of the What Would An HIV Doula Do? collective.