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The Museum of the City of New York to Present AIDS: A Living Archive™

April 17, 2001

Curated by Jean Carlomusto and Jane Rosett
A Multimedia Interactive Exhibit to Celebrate the Launching of "Gay Men's Health Crisis: 20 Years Fighting for People with HIV/AIDS"
Opening April 21, 2001

New York, NY -- The Museum of the City of New York will present AIDS: A Living Archive™, curated by Jean Carlomusto and Jane Rosett in honor of "Gay Men's Health Crisis: 20 Years Fighting for People with HIV/AIDS," an installation examining the AIDS epidemic through the history of GMHC and community-based responses to the epidemic.

"Twenty years ago, no one could have imagined the devastating impact that AIDS would have in New York City and around the world," stated Ana Oliveira, Executive Director of Gay Men's Health Crisis. "We are always proud when the work of GMHC is recognized. More importantly, we're happy for this opportunity to document and commemorate the leadership provided by people with AIDS. We are happy to be working with the Museum of the City of New York as we reflect on the past two decades of this ongoing struggle."

Since January 4, 1982, when six gay men came together again to formalize their group as Gay Men's Health Crisis, GMHC has been at the forefront, developing responses to a constantly evolving epidemic. Some services have remained constant from the earliest days. GMHC started the world's first AIDS hotline to respond to fears and questions about the mysterious illness. Another of the earliest services, the Buddy Program, continues to recruit volunteers to help with day-to-day needs of people living with AIDS. Most importantly, perhaps, has been GMHC's role in providing a model for community response. From the beginning, GMHC has sought to create a supportive and caring environment for members of its various communities.

The exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York premieres AIDS: A Living Archive™, curated by Jean Carlomusto and Jane Rosett, two long-time AIDS activists and visual artists who have worked with GMHC and other community-based AIDS organizations for the past seventeen years. Ms. Carlomusto in 1987 founded GMHC's Media Production unit. Jean is currently Coordinator of the Television Studio and assistant professor at the Media Arts program of Long Island University, C.W. Post campus. Ms. Rosett, whose extensive photography, writing, and other work has documented the birth and evolution of the people with AIDS movement, was a founder of the PWA Coalition/NY and the Community Research Initiative. She is currently a Special Fellow at Harvard University's AIDS Institute. Both Carlomusto and Rosett's work has been exhibited extensively in museums, and at film, video and arts festivals worldwide. New York venues have included the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim. They have received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

"Jane and Jean bring an innovative perspective to this dark chapter of recent history," said Ms. Oliveira. "Their work on this archive shines a light on some of the individuals and groups who have risen to meet the challenges of the epidemic."

The interactive multimedia installation will allow visitors to explore the evolution of a health crisis that forever changed medical research and public policy towards those with communicable diseases. The exhibition consists of several interactive and archival installations including:

  • The Video Portrait Gallery will allow visitors to activate individual portraits, including those of people with HIV/AIDS, whose voices and images include the diverse epidemiological, cultural, geographic, and economic realities of people living with and fighting HIV/AIDS worldwide.

  • An illustrated HIV/AIDS Timeline allows visitors to access specific moments in the history of the pandemic.

  • A number of Community Outreach forums, bringing together members of various, often-disparate communities to discuss specific topics within our shared fight against HIV/AIDS, including: prevention, treatment, public policy and legislation, and global activism.

  • Film and video programs will feature works that have been curated from a wide selection of materials about HIV/AIDS. Specific topical screenings will be coordinated to coincide with the community outreach forums.

  • An Installation Journal will be available for visitors to add their thoughts and suggestions. Selections from the journal may be incorporated into the installation.

Added exhibition co-curator Jane Rosett, "we hope this exhibition will provide a public forum to commemorate the dead, educate the living, and advocate the end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic."

AIDS: A Living Archive™ will be on view at the Museum of the City of New York from April 21 to September 10, 2001. The Museum is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue, at 104th Street. For exhibit hours, directions, and additional information, the general public can call the Museum at (212) 534-1672 or log on to

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This article was provided by Gay Men's Health Crisis. Visit GMHC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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