December #54 : A Day Without - by Nick Debs

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Table of Contents

The AIDS Decade: The 99 Greatest Moments of the '90s

Inside Agitator

Happy Holidays?

It's 10 O'Clock. Do You Know Where Your Meds Are?

Publisher's Letter

Mailbox-December 1999

Your Money or Your Life

Mass Appeal


Parallel Universe


Syph 'N' Spin

Hot Copy

Attention, Shoppers

Where Did HIV Come From?

The Spirit of St. Louis

Splendor in the Pines

Keeping the Faith


Tenement Dreams

10,000 Hemophiliacs

Just Eat It

Food Fight

The Hit List

Compound Interest

When to Treat Hep C?

Hep Help Hurray!

The Scoop on Poop

Could You Have HAD?

Shelf Life

Vintage Gallo

Days of Wine and Doses

Less Is More

Cutting Corners

A Day Without

Catching Up With

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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December 1999

A Day Without

by Nick Debs

Sometime in the mid-’80s it became painfully clear that AIDS was killing off the arts by killing off artists—not only through HIV, but through intolerance. The illnesses and deaths of too many artists to name, deranged congressional attacks on the NEA and a lamentable lack of support for the arts were the context in which Visual AIDS created A Day Without Art in 1989. It was designed to be at once grass-roots and establishment: Artists and arts professionals have pushed cultural institutions to observe this “day of action and mourning” in the decade since.

A general strike in the arts is impossible—in this nation, at least. So Day Without Art has been characterized by smaller “negative” actions—the draping of the Guggenheim’s facade in black fabric or the temporary removal of a Picasso from the Met’s galleries—as well as by pro-active programming such as Visual AIDS’ exhibits of work by artists with AIDS and its distribution of HIV-education broadsides. Each approach demonstrates what we’ve lost from AIDS and stand to lose, and challenges prevailing notions of the role that art can play in our public, political lives.

This is the last year Visual AIDS will coordinate Day Without Art. The organization will instead focus on providing services to artists with HIV. The choice is both heartening--these artists are now working and need support--and depressing--a tiny nonprofit is trying to fill a void created by the loss of public funds. As for Day Without Art, it's too widespread and rooted to stop growing now.

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