Picturing AIDS: 1986-1996
The exhibition consists of art and cultural work about the AIDS crisis; primarily created during the years between 1986 and 1996. The work addresses AIDS not only as a unique viral pandemic but also as a political and cultural phenomenon. The language of its representation is as complex as the socio-political fields from which it is articulated. Its picture is not singular or fixed but fractured and multi-dimensional. It is as private as it is public.
The LGBT Community Center’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors’ public and gallery spaces contain my work from this period, not in a chronological fashion, but in a way that clusters ideas and themes that I have been developing over the years.
For those of you who are too young to remember the early years of the epidemic, I hope that this exhibition will give you a frame within which to picture an intensely complicated, often painful, but more often heroic era in the history of our community.
Rudy Lemcke The LGBT Community Center San Francisco, California 2007
View of the 2nd Floor of the GLBT Community Center, San Francisco. 2007. The Picturing AIDS exhibition was presented on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th floors of the Center with a projection of the video Where the Buffalo Roam on the building’s facade on opening night.
10, 11, 12: Curatorial and Collaborative Projects: In the hallway that joins the community area and the gallery are representative images from 3 projects: The Wizard Of Oz Series (shown with Group Material’s AIDS Timeline), Who Killed Robert Mapplethorpe? (from an exhibition that I curated at the San Francisco Art Institute called, Inside/Out: Voices from Home); and a project that I made in the store front of Intersection for the Arts for World AIDS Day, 1997 called, Clean Works.
11. Documentation from Inside/Out: Voices from Home: Curated by Rudy Lemcke 1990. San Francisco Art Institute. The artists included in Inside Out:Voices from Home were selected for their commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic, willingness to face personal trauma with hope and support, and determination to keep AIDS-related issues in the public eye. This exhibition has largely been ignored by histories of AIDS art. The exhibition included The NAMES Project, the Women’s Caucus of ACT UP, HIV+ Women’s Movement Theatre Support Group, Anna Halperin, Masami Teraoka, among others. (photos in the 10,11,12 hallway)
13. Death Songs (left): This series of drawing/performance scores evolved over many years. The basic structure of Are You Sleeping, for example, was created in the early 80s, pre-AIDS, but soon took on a traumatic resonance as the pandemic grew in virulence. These works were exhibited together with the Fin Again(s) Wake series at Intersection for the Arts in 1989.
14. Garden for Harvey Milk Plaza: was a proposal for an AIDS Memorial that I worked on from 1985 to 1987. It was approved by the City of San Francisco but never built because I was unable to find funding for the project. The quotation for the back wall of the memorial reads: “Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep…” from Walt Whitman’s, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.