Guerrilla Projections Honor Day Without Art in New York, San Francisco, and Miami

Look to the skies tonight.

Shan Kelly, With Curators Like These, Who Needs A Cure, 2015 Image: Courtesy of Visual AIDS
Juan Rivera, Untitled (Keith Haring) 1985 Image: Courtesy of Visual AIDS

Juan Rivera, Untitled (Keith Haring) (1985).
Image: Courtesy of Visual AIDS.

The first Day Without Art began on December 1, 1989. Galleries across the US temporarily removed artwork from their white walls, and memorial services were held in observance of AIDS’ Awareness Day, eight years after doctors in Los Angeles identified a lung infection threatening gay men. By this time, many had succumbed to the life-threatening illness, including photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, actor Rock Hudson, and artist Peter Hujar.

”What we do tonight is only a symbolic reaction to threatening and ugly issues,” said composer Leonard Bernstein, according to the New York Times, during a 1989 performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In celebration of the 26th “Day With(out) Art,” the organization Visual AIDS has partnered with nine curators, activists and artists to present RADIANT PRESENCE, a video that will be screened at art institutions, AIDS-related organizations, and universities across the US. The “digital slideshow” celebrates artists who died from AIDS, including Ray Navarro, David Wojnarowicz, Keith Haring, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and so many other young men, as well as those who are currently living with AIDS and HIV worldwide.

Alex Fialho, programs manager at Visual AIDS, told artnet News that RADIANT PRESENCE is inspired by Electric Blanket (1990), which was originally screened on the facade of Cooper Union in New York.

Shan Kelly, With Curators Like These, Who Needs A Cure, 2015 Image: Courtesy of Visual AIDS

Shan Kelly, With Curators Like These, Who Needs A Cure (2015).
Image: Courtesy of Visual AIDS.

Visual AIDS has partnered with the Illuminator, a collective political art project that stages public interventions by disrupting public places with curated projections. The Illuminator, whose work was made famous during the early days of the Occupy Wall Street movement, will project RADIANT PRESENCE in highly visible public locations in New York City, San Francisco and Miami, in the guerrilla-like spirit of Electric Blanket’s first screening.

Update: Due to continued rain tonight in New York, the projections will appear on Friday evening.

See where to view the video here.

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