The Rage to Live: film and lecture series takes historical look at artists, AIDS, and activism

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      A historical look at artists active amid the onset of the AIDS crisis in the U.S. is underway this weekend, with an in-depth exploration of issues such as racism, sexuality, representation, and more.

      The Cinematheque, in partnership with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and Griffin Art Projects, are presenting a film and lecture series from today (January 31) to Sunday (February 2) entitled The Rage to Live: Queer Film Legacies and the Work of David Wojnarowicz and Marlon Riggs.

      The series is being presented in tandem with two current art exhibitions.

      At the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery until April 5, the exhibition David Wojnarowicz: Photography and Film 1978-1992 focuses on the artist’s photographic and filmic work, including over 100 photographs, silkscreens, 16mm and Super 8 films, test prints, and collaborative videos.

      Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) rose to prominence in New York’s art world in the 1980s for his work that was both political and personal, and he had garnered national recognition by the time he was diagnosed as HIV–positive in 1988.

      The Sodomite Invasion: Experimentation, Politics, and Sexuality in the work of Jimmy DeSana and Marlon T. Riggs, at North Vancouver's Griffin Art Projects until April 25, presents the work of two U.S. artists: New York City–based photographer Jimmy DeSana (1949-1990) and experimental filmmaker and documentarian Marlon Riggs (1957-1994), who was also an HIV/AIDS activist.

      Both artists died of AIDS–related illnesses.

      The series kicked off tonight (January 31) with an opening keynote talk by New York City–based artist and New York University associate professor Lyle Ashton Harris.

      At 1 p.m. tomorrow (February 1), the panel discussion Queer Perspectives: Intersectionality and the AIDS Crisis will feature interdisciplinary artist Adrian Stimson of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in conversation with I Yerevan Biennial artistic director and curator Lorenzo Fusi and Harvard University professor Robert F. Reid-Pharr.

      Both Stimson and Reid-Pharr will be keynote speakers as well on Saturday and Sunday (February 1 and 2).

      Film screenings will include Riggs’ “Ethnic Notions” (1987) and “Affirmations” (1990); and Color Adjustment (1991), a documentary examining racial stereotyping on U.S. television; and his final film Black Is… Black Ain’t (1995).

      Also scheduled are Marion Scemama’s Self-Portrait in 23 Rounds: A Chapter in David Wojnarowicz’s Life, 1989-1991; David France’s 2012 How to Survive a Plague, a U.S. documentary about the early years of the AIDS crisis; Robin Campillo’s 2017 French drama BPM: Beats Per Minute, about the Paris chapter of Act Up during the 1990s.

      Full details are available at the Cinematheque website. 

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