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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Andrea Bowers - Still Life of The AIDS Memorial Quilt in Storage

Andrea Bowers. Detail of "Still Life of The AIDS Memorial Quilt in Storage (Blocks 4336-4340)" , 2007.

Description from the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art:


This is a detail of a drawing illustrating a folded stack of quilts in the AIDS Memorial Quilt storage facility in Atlanta, Georgia. All the drawings in the series are 3 x 6 foot - mirroring the size of the individual panels on the quilt. This work focuses on the current status of the AIDS Memorial Quilt - an enormous quilt made by thousands of people all over the world celebrating and memorializing the lives of the people who have died of AIDS related illnesses. It now weighs over 54 tons and is composed of over 40,000 3 x 6 foot handmade quilt panels. Each panel is the size of a grave and contains a name. The quilt was first conceived in 1987 as a laying-out-of-the-dead to demand attention for a disease that was cutting down the young men of San Francisco’s gay community. While small sections are still displayed each year in schools, charities, churches and companies, the entire quilt has not been exhibited since it was laid over the Washington Mall in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11, 1996. Although the disease continues to spread, the quilt itself is growing much slower than it once did. It was moved by the foundation that cares for it, The Names Project Foundation, from San Francisco to Atlanta, not only because of more affordable storage but also because it better represents the new face of Aids: the highest percentage of infections is now occurring in people of color and women.

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