I really have nothing to say. I’m just sitting here, in the room without the TV, trying to avoid the non-stop football playoffs. It’s days like this that I regret my insistence that a second TV was unnecessary, and the subsequent passing on of that TV to someone else.
I don’t really even want to watch TV so much. It is Saturday and there’s really nothing on. And, to be honest, I have a variety of shows in my watch list so I could just click on over to my Amazon account, pull a blanket over my legs and settle in with this computer on my lap. It’s not easy to concentrate though with the play by play from the other room. It’s also distracting because my spouse has that nasty habit of turning the channel every time a commercial comes on, then flipping it back to football, and on and on and on.
So, I suppose I could tell you all that I went to the museum yesterday. I had just two days left to see an exhibit that has been here for months. Somehow, even with so much time off from the grandma duties, I lost track of time and suddenly realized that I needed to scoot my rear end into gear.
The exhibit showcased how the AIDS epidemic changed the face of American art during the 1980’s into today. If you feel inclined, you can click through some of the links/pages here.
Some of the art was disturbing and graphic. The images of wasted bodies, flesh covered with the lesions associated with Kaposi’s Sarcoma. Some of the pieces were not necessarily obvious in their relationship to HIV or AIDS, but served as metaphors for, and social commentary on the religious/social/cultural reactions to the disease. There was a section of the AIDS Memorial quilt that featured local names of those who lost their lives. There was art made from human blood, both HIV + and HIV – blood. There was a simple but clear message in the 4 or 5 cases of Trojan condoms, stacked in the middle of the floor, unopened. There was graphic sexual references in some of the art, like the small painting of a man – penis erect – ready to literally f**k a forward leaning, skeletal figure representing death. There were faces, so many faces – all living with and dying from AIDS. Some were clear, in color and still healthy looking, while others were shrouded in a mist, or blurred and blended into the background canvas. All were asking not to be forgotten.
Missing from this exhibit: women, black individuals, straight men.
There was a very large canvas holding a depiction of babies who had contracted AIDS, along with some statistics, yet there was no mention of the children, or other loved ones for that matter, growing up or trying to live without a loved one lost to AIDS.
This exhibition was created to show the artistic response to the AIDS epidemic, but it clearly chose to focus on how this disease was associated with gay men. In some ways it felt as if the exhibit was perpetuating a stereotype that I thought society had moved away from. I’ve thought about this since yesterday and now wonder if my reaction was naive. Perhaps the gay community was/is the only part of society that will speak out, speak up, and share the way AIDS took so many lives, or how HIV still infects 1 person every 10 minutes.
I guess maybe I did have something to say.