How Did AIDS Change Art In America?

“Art AIDS America,” an exhibition that’s temporarily up in West Hollywood and opening with expanded works at the Tacoma Art Museum in October, looks at the mark left by AIDS on the American art scene.

Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe and Felix Gonzalez-Torres are just a few of the well-known artists who died of illness related to the virus, and the exhibit examines how the fear and pain from a misunderstood epidemic contributed the brutally personal pieces from those affected.

“Here was art living out its ideal and making change and doing it in an unapologetic way,” says Rock Hushka, the Tacoma Art Museum’s chief curator.

Here’s some of what what’s displayed:


Niki de Saint Phalle’s AIDS, you can’t catch it holding hands (1987)


Joey Terrill’s Still life with Forget-Me-Nots and One Week’s Dose of Truvada (2012)


Andres Serrano’s Blood and Semen III (1990)


David Wajnarowicz’s Untitled (Buffalo) (1988) — Wajnarowicz made this piece while dying from the virus. He used the US governments eradication of the buffalo to represent the neglect of those suffering from AIDS.


Thomas Haukaa’s More Time Expected (2002) — In this piece, the horses without riders honor Native Americans who were lost to the disease.


Kia Labeija’s In My Room (2014) — Labeija, 26, was born with HIV which she contracted from her mother.


Keith Haring’s Altarpiece (1990) — This was the last piece Haring produced before his death.

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Tino Rodriguez’s Eternal Lovers (2010)

via Wired