Drawing the Line Against AIDS

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

June 8 – 13, 1993

EB 110


Graphite on paper

29 1/2 x 35 3/4 inches; 75 x 91 cm

Drawing the Line Against AIDS we have named the exhibition. There are, of course, many kinds of lines; but none of them can prevent or cure AIDS. No metaphor or allegory seems possible. A horror this vast resists metaphor. In New York City, 150 more people are diagnosed with AIDS every week. In Uganda, the crops are failing not because of drought but because so many healthy people are going to AIDS funerals that the crops are being neglected. Who amongst us has not watched in helpless horror the gratuitous violence of a close friend's body being consumed by its skeleton? Or recoiled involuntarily at the sight of the toxic bloom of Kaposi's sarcoma burning through the skin of yet another stranger passed on the street? More and more, the seemingly invincible promise of youth is becoming empty and prematurely brittle - globally. There is no curative metaphor possible here. Only money, scientific research, and well-focused rage can cure AIDS.


What sort of lines are being drawn here? There is the line we ask ourselves and you to draw - to draw a line against the blindness, racism, and searing indifference that, all too frequently, still greets this devastation. /we ask those of you with money to put it where there is the hope that AIDS no longer need be fatal. To buy one or more of the works so generously given to this exhibition makes a difference. Those of you without the means, we also ask to stand up and be counted, just as the astounding variety of artists who so willingly have given their support stood up to be counted. 

The other line that has been drawn here is obviously the line that the artists have charted in their fervent quest to bring visible shape and meaning to the mercurial flux of our consciousness. Lines that, if we're willing, let us know ourselves better; lines that may even help us locate our dignity. There is a startling panoply of making here. We wanted a very broad spectrum of possibilities to be represented. Within the limitations of time, exhibition space, and contacts, we sought out the widest range of international excellence we were capable of identifying. Wherever we have failed, it has not been due to the unwillingness of an individual artist to give. The overwhelming responsiveness of artists, as well as that of collectors, art dealers, and estate executors, made our task far simpler and more pleasurable than we anticipated. The artists have given twice - in their making and in their contribution of their sales. We are doubly indebted and doubly grateful. 

Mr. John Cheim

Mr. Diego Cortez

Ms. Carmen Gimenez

Mr. Klaus Kertess

Curators - Art Against AIDS Venezia under the aegis of the 45th Venice Biennale to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) International and the following Italian AIDS Charities: ANLAIDS, Caritas Italiana, CEIS, Forum AIDS and LILA