|curator's statement||may 2009 selection|
w a r r i o r
c u r a t o r : r u b e n n a t a l - s a n m i g u e l
war·rior: n., 1.) engaged or experienced in warfare; 2.) broadly, a person engaged in some struggle or conflict
This show is dedicated to the AIDS warriors. All the individuals whose continued activism provide a voice and generate change so that most of us today can have equal rights, freedom and help to find a cure for AIDS. Today, we can take for granted that such a simple and innocent gesture as holding hands in the street caused bloodshed, tears and even loss of life. I always had great admiration for Gay Warriors such as Harvey Milk, groups such as ACT- UP and the legendary heroes of the Stonewall Riots. I imagine they had no fear and were willing to sacrifice everything to bring change and prosperity. The works selected here bring to life the passion, the energy, the struggle, the emotion, the pain, the constant sense of loss, the love and the redemption embodied in the gay rights and AIDS activist movements.
One of the works that reminded me of this period of activism is the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Perfect Lovers is a simple but precise demonstration of love and perseverance. Felix was more than an artist; he was also a great AIDS activist, placing his art within the movement. John Dugdale's cyanotypes remind me of a blue period of meditation, loss and mourning while Luis Carle's Crowbar NYC reminds me of celebrating in memory of friends that are no longer around. How safe we all felt, underneath the disco ball, the dance floor offering a sense of belonging and community. I chose images of individuals from all walks of life and events that remind me of my life and my friends' journeys from the past 20 years.
Looking towards the future, I hope that whoever reads this takes a moment to recognize that we have come a long way. We have much to be grateful for but there are more battles to fight and it is up to us, the ones who still remain. A new generation of warriors must carry on, using as inspiration the honored warriors who are no longer around but fought with their lives for change. I believe there is a warrior in all of us ... don't you think it is time to let the real warrior in you out for a good cause?
b i o g r a p h y
Ruben Natal-San Miguel is an architect, curator, writer, art collector, consultant, blogger and photographer who specializes primarily in the art of emerging photography. In addition, Ruben is involved with non-profit art organizations such as ACRIA, Printed Matter, Aperture Foundation, AIDS Chicago, Humble Arts Foundation, Photolucida and Visual AIDS. He has also collaborated in several projects with prominent artists including Magnum Photographer Susan Meiselas.
Ruben is the Editor-in-Chief of ARTmostfierce, an online Art blog he founded. ARTmostfierce's main purpose is to promote emerging art, artists and photographers, and to benefit non-profit arts organizations while encouraging the art of "fast paced" but affordable collecting. Ruben wrote the introduction to The Humble Foundation Collectors Guide for Emerging Art Photography released in March 2009.
Ruben Natal-San Miguel works and lives in Manhattan NYC where after 16 years he continues to live "La Vida Loca."