In the lead up to the opening of the New York City AIDS MemorialSurface 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.

Michael Kimmelman
Architecture Critic, The New York Times

AIDS exposed what was then a deeply prejudiced, dysfunctional ignorance and attitude toward sexuality and toward healthcare. It was a particularly toxic moment in the political life of the country, when you had a fierce, deeply reactionary strain of right-wing Republicanism that was hell-bent on holding back social change and exploiting a medical calamity to propagate hatred. It became more than just something about the suffering and urgency of the problem; it was a crucible. Out of it came, slowly, inexorably, changing attitudes toward sexuality, and awareness that this was a health crisis that was about not just sexuality, but also poverty, and about a whole lot of other people who were not immediately represented in depictions and explanations of what was happening. It was revealed to be a global issue that involved race and religion.

 

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