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The Many Lives of Visual AIDS’s Day With(out) Art

December 01, 2022 – December 15, 2022

The Museum of Modern Art

Beginning on December 1, to mark Day With(out) Art/World AIDS Day, a day of action and mourning in response to the ongoing AIDS crisis, MoMA and Visual AIDS are pleased to present this Virtual Cinema program of titles drawn from the annual Visual AIDS video commission program. Each year Visual AIDS—a nonprofit that utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving their legacies—commissions artists to create new videos that respond to the crisis.

The program includes a selection of works made since 2014 that chronicle the public and private lives of sexually active queer people, beginning with a pair of meditations on cruising: Derrick Woods-Morrow’s sweaty intergenerational conversation with Patric McCoy, Much handled things are always soft; and The Labyrinth 1.0, Tiona Nekkia McClodden’s filmic adaptation of Brad Johnson’s poem “The Labyrinth” from the 1995 anthology Milking Black Bull. The conversation then turns to sex and education, first in DiAna’s Hair Ego REMIX, Cheryl Dunye’s 30-year update on DiAna DiAna, the American hairdresser and AIDS activist who was the protagonist of Ellen Spiro’s landmark documentary DiAna’s Hair Ego, followed by Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends Mixtape (The Demo), an urban ghost story in which a chatty tub-dweller dishes about the lovers who haunt him. The program concludes with two portraits of crucial, underrepresented figures in AIDS activism: Rhys Ernst’s Dear Lou Sullivan, a tender epistle to trans author and activist Lou Sullivan; and Shanti Avirgan’s Beat Goes On, a valiant ode to Keith Cylar, founder of the New York–based homeless-advocacy group Housing Works.

In addition to the Virtual Cinema presentation from December 1 through December 15, MoMA will host an in-person screening of this program at 6:30 p.m. on December 1.

Organized by Carson Parish, Associate Producer, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art, with Kyle Croft, Program Director, and Blake Paskal, Artist Engagement and Community Programs Manager, Visual AIDS.

 

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, and Karen and Gary Winnick.

Images

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Dear Lou Sullivan. 2014. Directed by Rhys Ernst. USA. Courtesy of Visual AIDS

Much handled things are always soft. 2019. USA. Directed by Derrick Woods-Morrow. Production still by Patric McCoy, courtesy of Visual AIDS