This week Artery launches. The spring theme is “In Motion.” Features include a reunion (via email) of the NEA 4, a Symposium about the unfashionability of AIDS-arts today, an Artist in the Archives interview with Jack Waters, the film program’s first living (and African-American) artist, a memoir by Philip Lopate about filmmaker Warren Sonbert, never-before-published images of dancer Bill T. Jones, a look at recent AIDS-photo books, and an essay about the landmark San Francisco AIDS-theatrework “The AIDS Show” (1984), among other features.
It is expected that the International Events Calendar will help make Artery a global center for AIDS discourse, and one which is unique for its focus on the intersection of AIDS and the arts. (Information about programs can be submitted on the site’s calendar section or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.) Another unique element of Artery is its AIDS-Arts Timeline. This searchable, double timeline will chronicle both AIDS events and AIDS-arts events of the past two decades. Rudimentary information is already visible on the site and audiences around the world are asked to contribute information to it (in the form of text, image and sound files) about events with which they are familiar. Just as every locale and society has its own AIDS epidemic, so too does every locale have its own history of the epidemic. This “people’s history” is expected to debut next fall, prior to December 1st, Day Without Art/World AIDS Day.
“Artery has grown organically out of The Estate Project’s work preserving artworks created during the AIDS crisis,” Patrick Moore, its director noted. “Artery can help us examine important issues raised by the artworks we preserve: What have we learned from AIDS? What do today’s artistic responses, and yesterday’s, tell us about the epidemic and ourselves? How do artists respond to crisis?” Robert Atkins (editor/producer) also believes that the epidemic remains a wellspring of unresolved emotion-on all sides. “As one of the participants in Artery’s first symposium observed: ‘The influence of AIDS-related art is huge -- too large to see clearly and yet pervasive.’ It’s the Vietnam of the eighties,” he said. “We need places to discuss such issues and express those feelings.”
Contact: Robert Atkins. Editor/Producer
Artery: The AIDS-Arts Forum
September 2000 - The Estate Project’s re-launched website features an important new component -- Artery: The AIDS-Arts Forum (www.artistswithaids.org/artery). Artery’s mission is to examine both the history of the AIDS crisis and its changing face as reflected in the arts. It is part web-zine and journal, part database and conversational forum. Issue one featured the work of writers and artists including Robert Atkins, Misha Berson, Gregg Bordowitz, Michael Bronski, Jon Gartenberg, Stephen Holden, Barbara Hunt, Holly Hughes, Bill T. Jones, Paul Kaiser, Philip Lopate, Craig Lucas, Tim Miller, Eileen Myles, Sarah Schulman, Thomas Sokolowski, Warren Sonbert and Jack Waters. The fall issue of Artery -- uploaded on September 19 -- is devoted to the memorial and titled In Memoriam.
Unlike religion and philosophy “which also deal with death and the human condition” the arts offer personal, sometimes harsh, truths and the creation of new forms of ritual. Embodied not only in portraits, plays, and poems, or monuments, requiems and dances, the memorial impulse has also catalyzed new ideas about commemoration and memory itself. Artery presents a smorgasbord of materials on this theme, ranging from opinion and commentary, interviews and artworks in a variety of media (including Artery’s first audio-work by the late Robert Farber), to investigations of AIDS memorials and memorial services.
The last, by the way, is a not-always-reverent sampling of personal anecdotes about funerals and memorial services spanning the gamut from the absurd to the sublime by writers including Dorothy Alison, Christopher Bram, and comic Bob Smith. In addition, four Symposium participants examine the history of memorials and Artery’s News & Notes section includes not just announcements and analysis but film reviews. Artery’s Centerpieces feature an incisive and surprising look at what happens to the prices of an artist’s work after he or she dies by Judd Tully, a moving memoir by Alex Chee, and an angry “postcard from grief” by Craig Lucas, as well as reports from Provincetown by Eileen Myles, and the International AIDS Conference in Durban from Carole Leach-Lemens. The subject of Artery’s Artist-in-the-Archives interview is Rebecca Guberman, a young artist and film-maker.
In the digital era, an article can be more than an article. Our features on AIDS memorials (Stitches and Stones: AIDS Memorials), memorial services (Memorial Services: The Unbearable Meaning of Being), AIDS Music, and the new Bibliography section in the Talking Back section are also interactive projects and the kernel of data bases. Please participate; Artery is also sponsoring the only international events calendar of cultural activities for World AIDS Day/Day With(out) Art. (Events can be posted via email at email@example.com.) Artery’s next issue, devoted to activism, will be online on December 1.
For info re contributing to the data bases or writing (we pay decently) contact Robert Atkins at firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder Barry Harrison writes, “When I started QAR in 1996, my search for ‘gay art’ online turned up ‘Men in Spandex’ which consisted of photos stolen from the Undergear catalog. Now, the QAR links pages list hundreds of queer art sites on the Web. In many ways, we HAVE accomplished our original goal of presenting a range of queer artistic expression in more than 30 exhibitions, though of course there’s so much more we could do. Unfortunately, we don’t have the funding to continue producing new exhibitions.”
Past exhibits -- which include Bhupen Khakhar, Barbara Kyne, Paul Cadmus, Nicole Eisenman, Nahum B. Zenil, Contempo Lesbos, The Legacy of Hubert Stowitts, and many others -- will remain on the Net. According to Harrison, “we are continuing to add and update the links pages, and the site is still receiving about half a million hits per month.” Queer Arts Resource can be found at http://www.queer-arts.org/
In checking on the current status of this collection, we learned from Oberlin slide curator Joseph Romano that “[t]he slide archive of gay and lesbian artists has suffered from lack of funding and staffing. The archive was originally managed by graduate students in our department. But with the dissolution of our graduate program a few years back, we haven’t been able to give it the attention it deserves. The database still resides on a stand alone computer in an old DOS format and the slides are still housed in our slide library. Although there isn’t any funding to promote or expand the archive, it is still used by Oberlin College students for class presentations.
The Archive grew out of discussions which took place at Caucus meetings and was seen by many as a place where Caucus members, among others, could leave a record of their work. Is this a project that we should again consider? Could money be raised to fund the transfer of the database to a newer computer and to give the Archive a presence on the Internet? Should we ask for a Caucus member to pick up the ball at his/her institution? If you have thoughts on these matters, contact a Caucus officer.
For more info on the Archive, contact:
Dept .of Art
Oberlin, OH 44074
The BGLA is YOUR research tool! YOU are the artists and scholars in the field. No bibliography or library collection can be truly excellent without the assistance of people in the field. I have still, after all these years and newsletter pleas, received very few citations on gay and lesbian art, artists or art history from Caucus members. Meanwhile, I have been slowly gathering additional material. While my work on the bibliography slowed last year due to my work as co-chair of the Art Libraries Society of North America conference in Pittsburgh, I have picked up my pace over the summer. The text of the second, expanded edition of The Bibliography of gay and lesbian art should be finished by the end of January 2001!
There is, therefore, still time for Caucus members to submit citations for books, essays, journal articles, newspaper articles, and web sites on gay and lesbian art, artists, and art history! Include citations to published information about your own work if you are an artist -- the world needs to know about it too!
A citation includes: