In the lead up to the opening of the New York City AIDS Memorial, Surface spoke with notable cultural figures who experienced the height of the crisis. Jenny Holzer turned excerpts from those interviews into a new series of artworks projected on the city's buildings.
It was a potent, powerful, and painful time. When I was working on The Ryan White Story Ryan was still alive, and I remember a reporter asking him, “How did people treat you?” He said, “People would spit at me and call me a fag.” We’re talking about a community that was dying and being disenfranchised. The level of homophobia that was shoved under the carpet you could finally notice and feel in the response, in the way that people were being vilified. We we were losing so many people week after week. I remember going with friends to hospitals and being with young people we didn’t even know. They were dying alone, because their families had disavowed them.
View the full collaboration here: Reflecting on AIDS: Jenny Holzer in Collaboration with Surface
Artwork by Jenny Holzer
©2016 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photos: Dani Vernon