Materials of Survival

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[dropcap]A[/dropcap] new exhibition, “Materials of Survival: Designs for Living with HIV,” featuring the art and photography of Grahame Perry will open this month at Magnet SF. In our June 2015 interview A&U’s Brent Calderwood, Perry delved into the relationship between living with HIV, becoming a long-term survivor, and his art: “I think that it wasn’t until I saw that the treatments that I was on were reversing the decline of my immune system, and then the release of the protease inhibitors, that I began to believe in my having a long-term future. The hope of a long life which was ripped away by the HIV diagnosis took a while to slowly return.”

Perry added: “I feel the need to put some of this journey down in the work I’m creating, as witnesses to what went on. It’s easy to forget, and I’m not sure that the stories of survival have been told. Some of us who’ve gone through this are still picking through the rubble and trying to make sense of it.”


 

Every AIDS Obituary, 2015, archival pigment print in edition of 25, 64 by 60 inches (12 panels, 4 by 3, of 16 by 20 inches). Courtesy of the LGBT Historical Society © Bay Area Reporter (individual obituaries)
Every AIDS Obituary, 2015, archival pigment print in edition of 25, 64 by 60 inches (12 panels, 4 by 3, of 16 by 20 inches). Courtesy of the LGBT Historical Society © Bay Area Reporter (individual obituaries)

Intertwining personal and communal experiences of long-term surviving, Perry situates his pieces within wider conversations around illness, stigma, health, and survival. In his piece Every AIDS Obituary, for example, Perry bears witness to the loss of life from AIDS-related causes and the work of documenting and understanding our history by assembling twelve panels of the thousands of obituaries that appeared in the Bay Area Reporter between 1982 and 2005.

Drawing on several years of work, the show is the first time the entire “Materials” series will be exhibited. The exhibition space itself—Magnet SF’s new gallery in the new AIDS Foundation building in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District—resonates with Perry’s theme, as the press release pointed out: “Because of the neighborhood’s centrality in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, it is especially important for the artist to have the exhibition occur in the heart of the Castro. Many long-term survivors have called the Castro and San Francisco home. This show attempts to address some of the issues for long-term survivors while also placing it in a location which is relevant for gay men negotiating the issues of sexual health today.”

The exhibition’s opening reception will be held on November 6, from 8–10 p.m., Magnet SF, 470 Castro Street, San Francisco.


 

For more information about the event, log on to http://j.mp/magnet-show.


 

To read A&U’s interview with Grahame Perry click here.