Raising Issues About Representing AIDS

About the Exhibition

Over the past eight years, Alon Reininger has covered the AIDS crisis more extensively than any other photographer and winning numerous international awards.  The exhibition Documenting The Crisis included 25 of his 16×20” photographs from original color positives, among them the award-winning image of AIDS victim Ken Meeks, and numerous original copies of the journals in which his photographs have appeared.

Alon Reininger began his documentation of the AIDS crisis as a personal project, one that has grown to be internationally renowned.  His photographs are striking and often disturbing portraits of the victims of AIDS.  Photographing the initial victims in the gay community, and moving with the disease to photograph the children, families, and lovers that AIDS has stricken, Reininger writes, “I wanted to show the magnitude of AIDS and try to dispel the notion that it’s only to do with gays.” 

In TB-AIDS Diary Linda Troeller explored the inherent parallels of the two epidemics through twenty photocollages, re-photographed on 20×24” color Polaroid materials, that juxtaposed diary excerpts, x-rays, and old and new photographs to illustrate both the stigmatization of transmissible disease and personal triumph over that disease.  The work centered on the experiences of two people:  Troeller’s mother who contracted TB in the 1930s, and Barbara Cleaver, founder of a Mother of AIDS Patients Group, whose son Scott died of AIDS in the 1980s.  The experiences are distinct, and are separated by over 50 years, but through her closely related series of photocollages, Troeller drew parallels between each set of circumstances, revealing how social pressures have similarly affected individuals caught up in the stress, fear, and pain of disease.

The exhibition of The Indomitable Spirit Portfolio included a display of all works in the limited edition portfolio– 10 previously unpublished photographic works by John Baldessari, Chuck Close, Jan Groover, Annette Lemieux, Duane Michals, Richard Prince, Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Bruce Weber and William Wegman.  Published in an edition of 50 plus 15 artist’s proofs, the portfolio is a central fund raising tool of Photographers + Friends United Against AIDS in New York City.  The portfolio is a result of the cooperative efforts of P + F and several major photography dealers including Pace/MacGill, Robert Miller, Lorence Monk, and Brent Sikkema Galleries in New York, the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, and the Blum Helman Gallery in Los Angeles.