Begun in 1989 by the New York-based artists group Visual AIDS, the art world's annual observance of "A Day Without Art" mourns the toll AIDS has taken on the art world while contemplating what could happen if the disease continues unchecked--that there could come, almost literally, a time without art.
In its first year, the event was observed with a fairly strict adherence to the metaphor--with hundreds of galleries, museums and theaters nationwide closing their doors. Many organizations now choose instead to mark it with special exhibitions and events aimed at increasing public awareness of the disease, or celebrating the contributions of those living with AIDS.
The nationwide observance takes place Dec. 1 each year--the same day the United Nations marks World AIDS Day. Here is a partial list of Southern California observances.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
Armory Center for the Arts (145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, (818) 792-5101). "Windows on AIDS 1993," four commissioned window installations by Los Angeles artists Fred Fehlau, Lawrence Gipe, Jim Shaw, and Lilla LoCurto and William Outcault (through Dec. 12). Also, the lights on the Armory's current exhibition, "Objects: 16 L.A. Sculptors," will be extinguished for the day.
Fowler Museum of Cultural History (UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., (310) 825-4361). "AIDS in Africa: Through the Eyes of Joseph Bertiers," AIDS-related paintings by the self-taught Kenyan artist, featuring current statistics on the epidemic in the United States and Africa (through Jan. 2). The museum will close the exhibition, "Sleeping Beauties: African Headrests and Other Highlights From the Jerome L. Joss Collection," in memory of African artists who have died of the disease.
J. Paul Getty Museum (17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, (310) 458-2003). Special display of a commemorative photograph by Julie Margaret Cameron. Proceeds from the sale of selected merchandise in the museum bookstore will be donated to AIDS services.
Highways Performance Space (18th Street Arts Complex, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica, (310) 315-9633). "Honoring the Living," featuring free performances honoring artists living with AIDS. 8:30 p.m.
L.A. County Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 857-6522). The contemporary art galleries will be dimmed and Robert Longo's "Black Planet (for A.Z.)," which the artist dedicated to dancer and choreographer Arnie Zane, who died of AIDS in 1988, will be shrouded. Liz Young's installation, "The Dignity of Survival," will remain illuminated to symbolize hope for the future. In addition, the museum will play Robert Farber's audio project "Every Ten Minutes," featuring a tolling bell heard every 10 minutes to signify each new AIDS death, in the Central Court.
Museum of Contemporary Art (250 S. Grand Ave., (213) 621-2766). Videos by artists regarding the body, life, death and AIDS will play continuously. Readings by members of the AIDS Project Los Angeles Creative Writing Workshop and an AIDS-related performance by Philip Littell from noon to 2 p.m. In addition, admission will be waived, donations will be accepted for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, red ribbons will be distributed, and the museum will play the audio work "Every Ten Minutes."
Otis School of Art and Design (2401 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 251-0547). The college today launches "One Day Is Not Enough," a yearlong AIDS education and awareness campaign. Also: "The Remembering," an open exhibition of memorials to those who have succumbed to AIDS (through Dec. 15); performances by artists including Marcus Kuiland-Nazarrio, Mario Gardner and Ruben Martinez from 11 a.m.-1 p.m; ongoing audio and video presentations on the subject of AIDS; the draping of on-campus public art, and the closure of the Otis Gallery.
Self-Help Graphics (3802 Brooklyn Ave., East Los Angeles, (213) 463-7691). Readings and performances by Chicano writers and performers. 8:30-10 p.m.
UCLA School of the Arts (405 Hilgard Ave., (310) 825-3253). Works in the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden will be shrouded; red ribbons will be distributed; a "Free Speech Forum: Shared Narratives on AIDS Experiences," will be held in Myerhoff Park at noon, and a silent vigil, featuring performance artist Rachel Rosenthal, will take place in the sculpture garden, also at noon. In addition, Roger Bourland's "Hidden Legacies," a cantata about AIDS, will be heard on the Powell Library Tower chimes at noon, and the HBO film, "And the Band Played On," will be screened in Ackerman Grand Ballroom at 8 p.m.
SELECTED EVENTS IN ORANGE COUNTY
Newport Harbor Art Museum (850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, (714) 759-1122). "Artists Respond to AIDS," a 3-4 p.m. panel discussion with artists Lilla LoCurto and William Outcault, creators of "Self-portrait," an AIDS-related installation on view at the museum. The museum will also play the audio work, "Every Ten Minutes," install an AIDS-related work by Barbara Kruger, and accept donations for the AIDS Response Program.