On December 1,1989—the same year the Wexner Center opened its doors—an organized group of arts professionals launched Day With(out) Art, a yearly commemoration and call to action in response to the AIDS crisis, timed to coincide with the World Heath Organization’s World AIDS Day. The Wex participated from the beginning, joining over 800 arts organizations, museums and galleries nationwide in closing galleries, shrouding artworks, and sharing information about the disease.
The purpose of the day has evolved over time from mourning to celebrating the lives of those lost, encouraging the creation of work about the AIDS pandemic, and supporting programming by artists living with HIV. Throughout, Visual AIDS, a New York-based contemporary arts organization committed to raising AIDS awareness and spurring dialogue about HIV issues, has been the driving force behind the initiative.
For the 2016 Day With(out) Art, the Wex will join dozens of arts spaces around the world in partnering with Visual AIDS to present a special one-day program. Screening in The Box, Compulsive Practice is a video compilation of compulsive, daily, and habitual practices by nine artists and activists who live with their cameras as one way to manage, reflect upon, and change how they are deeply affected by HIV/AIDS. Curators for the compilation include a Wex Film/Video Studio alum, video artist Alex Juhasz, who was here in 2007 to work on her film Scale: Measuring Might in the Media Age.
From video diaries to civil disobedience, holiday specials and backstage antics, Betamax to YouTube, Compulsive Practice displays a diversity of artistic approaches, experiences, and expectations. The compulsive video practices of these artists serve many purposes—cure, treatment, outlet, lament, documentation, communication—and have many tones—obsessive, driven, poetic, neurotic, celebratory. Compulsive Practice demonstrates the place of technology, self-expression, critique, and community in the many decades and the many experiences of artists and activists living with AIDS.
Compulsive Practice is curated by Juhasz, Jean Carlomusto, and Hugh Ryan. Participating video makers and artists include James Wentzy, Nelson Sullivan (1948–1989), Ray Navarro (1964–1990), Carol Leigh aka Scarlot Harlot, Juanita Mohammed, Luna Luis Ortiz, Mark S. King, Justin B. Terry-Smith, and the Southern AIDS Living Quilt.
The work will run on a continuous loop during regular business hours December 1. More information about participating artists and curators will be available on site.