Art AIDS Activism 1995 until today

18 January–9 March 2014
Opening: 17 January 2014

Event Series

nGbK, Oranienstr. 25


Ei Arakawa, BEWEGUNG NURR, Ryan Brewer, AA Bronson, Elmgreen & Dragset, Steven Evans, General Idea, Sunil Gupta, Leiko Ikemura, Doug Ischar, Peter Knoch, Dominik Lejman, Ono Ludwig, Piotr Nathan, Irina Popova, Hunter Reynolds, Anna Charlotte Schmid, Pola Sieverding, SUSI POP, Sergei Tcherepnin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Lorena Zilleruelo

Project group RealismusStudio

Jan Ketz, Christin Lahr, Michaela Richter, Frank Wagner, Susanne Weiß


Isabelle Meiffert

The project has been conceived as a sequential, two-part exhibition. The first part, LOVE AIDS RIOT SEX I, focused on the time from 1987 to 1995, an era of great despair and massive indignation during the AIDS crisis. The activist works in particular aimed to attract the greatest possible amount of public and media attention.

The second exhibition presents works from 1995 until the present. These reflect on the distortions of the twentieth century’s last two decades and show approaches that are much more private, more reserved or more biographical. In the mid 1990s, the combined administration of medications and newly developed antiretroviral substances were finally able to combat the virus. Before the development of combination therapies people had to reckon with dying within the next fifteen months following their HIV diagnosis. This experience led to the development of intense engagement with religion, death and concepts of an afterlife as well as a culture of remembrance and death cults. Alternative healing and treatment methods plus esoteric procedures gained significance — the involvement with such also finds expression in more recent artistic processes.

Nowadays there are no longer stars in the art scene who deal with AIDS in an exemplary manner such as Gran Fury, General Idea and Hunter Reynolds did during their era. For a younger generation of artists AIDS no longer plays a central role for them in their works. The ‘forms’ of artistic engagement have also changed. Many of these works seem quieter, and a larger variety of styles, methods and approaches have been developed. While the artists from the first part of the show came especially from North American cities and from Berlin, the second part of the exhibition is additionally more multinational.

The exhibition catalogue will be available in February. Publisher: nGbK, ISBN: 978-3-938515-56-3


15 – 23 February 2014
Projektraum, Kunstquartier Bethanien
Professors Leiko Ikemura (Berlin University of the Arts), Dominik Lejman (University of Arts, Poznań) and Piotr Nathan (Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Kiel) took the terms in the project’s title — love, AIDS, activism and sexuality — and worked on them with their students during the 2013/2014 winter semester.
The results of these processes will be presented in the Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin for ten days as an additional exhibition. In doing so, LOVE AIDS RIOT SEX makes a direct connection to the here and now with the images and ideas of a younger generation and brings up for discussion how people deal with AIDS in the present day.

Friday, 17 January, 19h

Saturday, 18 January, 18h
Guided Tour with Frank Wagner and Steven Evans

Sunday, 19 January, 17h
Exhibition intervention and panel discussion
ACT UP! Queer Counter-Memory and AIDS Activism in Germany
Guests: Petra Knust + Nicole D. Schmidt (ACT UP! Hamburg), Ulrich Würdemann (ACT UP! Köln), Harry Hauck (ACT UP! Berlin), Birol Isik (ADM - Aids Danisma Merkezi, Berlin)
Organisation: Eugen Januschke, Ulrike Klöppel, Katrin Köppert, Karin Michalski, Todd Sekule

Monday, 20 January, 19h
Neighborhood film evening
We Were Here – The Arrival and Impact of AIDS in San Francisco
(USA, 2011, 90 min), by David Weissman and Bill Webber

Thursday, 06 February 2014, 18 h,
Guided tour
with Frank Wagner in conversation with Peter Knoch, Anna Charlotte Schmid and Pola Sieverding

Sunday, 09 February 2014, 18 h,
Catalogue presentation

“LOVE AIDS RIOT SEX”, ISBN 978-3-938515-56-3

Tuesday, 11 February 2014, 19 h,
Panel discussion
Memorial, Rememberance and Art nowadays

AIDS Gravesites and Communal Graves
Panel discussion in the run-up to the open artistic competition of the extension of the AIDS Communal Grave of Denk mal posithiv e.V. (registered association) at the cemetery Alter St. Matthäus-Kirchhof, Berlin
With the consortium Aids Art Grave

Friday, 14 February 2014, 19 h,
Projektraum, Kunstquartier Bethanien

Students of Kunsthochschulen Uniwersytet Artystyczny w Poznaniu, Muthesius Kunsthochschule, Kiel, Universität der Künste Berlin
(until 23 Feb)

Sunday, 16 February 2014, 18 h,
by Hunter Reynolds

Survival AIDS Mummification - Transformation Berlin

Since 1999, Hunter Reynolds has performed 14 “Mummifications” throughout Europe and the United States. In conjunction with the current exhibition LOVE AIDS RIOT SEX II at the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK), Berlin Reynolds will perform Survival Aids Mummification Transformation.

These rare performances are physically and emotionally grueling and simultaneously inspiring - evoking both rebirth and resurrection. For over twenty years Reynolds has been using photography, performance and installation to express his experience as an HIV positive gay man. He will be colaborating with Goran Tomcic on the design of the mummification skin.

“Art has always been one of the tools I have used to heal myself and others and to find order in the chaos of my life, by not only telling the story through art, but by transforming myself in the process of making it, using it to rebuild my life, finding hope and beauty and a desire to be alive.”
Hunter Reynolds

Hunter Reynolds, Goren Tomcic, Rik Mayda ,Frank Merz, Marcelo Alves

Goran Tomcic is an artist and writer. Born in former Yugoslavia in 1964, he is Croatian and US citizen, and currently lives and works in Berlin. He holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (1996). Since 2000 he has shown his art internationally and is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner grant (2007). His poetry and art criticism has been published internationally from the mid 80s.

Hunter Reynolds is a visual artist and AIDS activist and He is a Visual AIDS artist member. He was a an early member of ACT UP New York, and in 1989 co-founded Art Positive, an affinity group of ACT-UP to fight homophobia and censorship in the arts. For over twenty years, Reynolds has been using performance, photography, and installations to express his experience as an HIV-positive gay man living in the age of AIDS. Reynolds’s works address issues of gender identity, political, social, and sexual histories, mourning and loss, survival, hope and healing.

Thursday, 20 February 2014, 18 h,
Guided tour: nGbK
with Frank Wagner and guests

Thursday, 20 February 2014, 19 h,
Guided tour: Projektraum
With Frank Wagner guests and students


Projektraum, Kunstquartier Bethanien

Thursday, 06 March 2014, 18 h,
Guided tour
with Frank Wagner and guests