Exhibition: The A.R.T. Show
The A.R.T. Show is the current exhibition in a series which has included Make Art/Stop Aids and Not Alone – all curated by Carol Brown and David Gere with institutional support from the UCLA Art and Global Health Programme. The title of the exhibition is a play on words. The letters A.R.T. stand for Anti-Retroviral Treatment as well as signify creativity. The relationship between the complexities of treatment and its representations through visual art are examined in the exhibition.
Aids is one of many epidemics which historically has affected the world. Illness, life and death have always been important subjects in visual art and we understand these human conditions largely due to the visual legacy which we inherit.
One of the key works on show is the A.R.T. Cabinet designed and constructed by Xavier Clarisse. This structure is inspired by the cabinets of curiosities which date from the 16th century. These cabinets did not separate the disciplines of art, medicine and science but rather displayed them all in an integrated manner. They laid the foundations for the creation of museums which subsequently separated these disciplines. The works in this structure, created by several artists, have been selected or commissioned to reflect these relationships and to draw in the discourses of medicine and healing.
This cabinet is one of the several major installations in the show, many of which concentrate on collaborations emphasising the fact that none of us stand alone in this epidemic. These include a walk-in spiral construction bringing together two photographic projects, “The Harsh Divide” and “Through Positive Eyes” by the UCLA Art and Global Health Centre where HIV positive people worked with photographer Gideon Mendel to tell their stories of the fight for and life after treatment access.