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[Art Strike 1990-1993]
A Day Without Artists
- What started as a sincere observance of the absence from the cultural community of all the artists who have died of AIDS has now degenerated into a hollow gesture repeated ad nauseam every year into an unthinking ritual that no one would dare not to observe. Once again, artists have responded to a crisis with a simulacrum-a pseudo-absence-and have reduced all legitimate concern we might have for PWAs and those who are HIV-positive to mere appreciation of a futile esthetic gesture.
- December 1st has therefore become a day without absence: the absence of thousands of artists, and the absence of what they would have continued to create. By having a day without art without absence, we are in fact having nothing at all.
- It is for these reasons that the Aggressive School of Cultural Workers, Iowa Chapter, has declared December 1, 1991, to be A Day Without Artists and A Day Without Museums.
Day Without Art Exhibition
- What the Day Without Art Exhibition memorializes is the empty space left by all artists who had died of AIDS. How then can its organizers have the audacity to try to fill up this space with more art created specifically for a day without art? Public awareness of AIDS has already risen dramatically in the wake of Magic Johnson's announcement that he is HIV-positive, so we cannot conclude that raising public awareness is an important goal of this exhibit. Let's recognize this exhibit for what it is: a cynical career move riding on the backs of every artist who has died of AIDS. The organizers of the Day Without Art Exhibition are trying to give their work a politically correct cachet while simultaneously padding their resumes.
- Furthermore, an art exhibit in commemoration of AIDS victims and the creative vacuum caused by those now departed amounts to little more than a denial of their deaths.
- To have left the walls of the Checkered Space empty and blank would have been a much more fitting testimonial to the loss of all persons, artists and non-artists alike, taken by AIDS. We must feel the pain of their absence.