Today is the 26th Annual Day Without Art. The event was first organized in 1989 by the New York-based organization Visual AIDS, in response to the AIDS crisis. The intent was to “celebrate the lives and achievements of lost colleagues and friends; encourage caring for all people with AIDS; educate diverse publics about HIV infection; and find a cure.”
Since the onset, Day Without Art has always been held in conjunction with the World Health Organization’s World AIDS Day on December 1. Every year hundreds of organizations, museums, an galleries worldwide participate, often by shrouding works of art, dimming the lights, or locking their doors – as a visual reminder of the creativity lost due to the epidemic.
About 10 years ago, Visual AIDS changed the title of the event to Day With(out) Art, adding the parentheses, to encourage the development of art projects focused on HIV/AIDS and with artists living with HIV. Last year, on the 25th Anniversary of Day With(out) Art, Visual AIDS commissioned videos by several artists to be screened internationally. Alternate Endings was screening in the Charlotte area by the Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College. For several years, the College has participated in Day Without Art by covering campus sculptures and various works of art on campus.
It’s important that today, 26 years later, we take time to remember, reflect, and end stigmatization and criminalization – until a cure is found. So this year, two NC institutions are working with Visual AIDS to screen Radiant Presence, a digital slideshow curated from the Visual AIDS Artist+ Registry. Radiant Presence will be shown locally at Davidson College (as well as at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC). If you can’t make it by the Alvarez Union or Chambers Building at Davidson College, you can view the slideshow online. (The Galleries have also curated a small exhibition at Chambers Building featuring works by Robert Sherer, Shan Kelly, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Keith Haring, open from 9am until 5pm).
Be sure to follow the day’s events: @visualaids, #radiantpresence, and #daywithoutart.