In 1997, Visual AIDS added a subtle set of parentheses to Day With(out) Art: An International Day of Action and Mourning that in fact marked a significant shift: Less loss, more art. The point of the December 1 commemoration was no longer so much about mourning, as the Visual AIDS website puts it, “[but] the fact that work by artists with HIV, art about AIDS and other active interventions...are far more effective than actions to negate or reduce the programs.” For Day With(out) Art 2002, stigma and discrimination are sure to be buzzwords -- but whether you’re an A-list artist or finger-painting newbie, with so much going on across the country (and on the tube), the only thing you’ll have to be discriminating about is your choice of activity.
Some highlights: On December 1, LA-area cable will feature a 24-hour onscreen rolling list of the names of 24,000 people dead from AIDS (www.aidswatch.org). For the hip-hop gen, MTV and YouthAIDS present the Staying Alive concert with Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band and Missy Elliott performing in Seattle and Capetown, South Africa, filmed and edited into a stigma-smashing special. Even Internet addicts can honor artists with HIV, by participating in the December 1 “Link and Think” action, linking their sites to HIV resources and PWA art (www.linkandthink.org). New Yorkers can catch some of the dance world’s whirlingest at a 12-hour marathon December 7 (www.dradance.org). At San Francisco’s Plush Room, jazz great Jacqui Naylor will perform “I Remember You,” by PWA Joe Wilson, from December 3 to 7 (www.artistsagainstaids.com). And for the ambitious, check out www.visualaids.org for tips from the source on how to launch your own organization’s Day With(out) Art event.