Makeup Event – Still Beginning Challenges What We Think We Know

The small exhibit on display at the Krannert Art Museum 12/2/19

When looking for makeup events I didn’t think the Visual AIDS exhibit would be so worthwhile.

Written by Catherine Webber

When I got back from Thanksgiving break I realized that I had a few more events that I had to make up and at first I got a bit nervous. Would I be able to find things that would be interesting and be accepted by my teachers? However, I didn’t need to fret at all because there are always events and shows happening on campus here at UIUC! Phew! When looking at the Krannert Art Museum’s calendar and saw the opening of Still Beginning: 30th Annual Visual AIDS Day With(out) Art I was very intrigued. This exhibit, housed in the basement of KAM was a bit hard to find as it was nestled in the corner, but it really packed a punch. The exhibit was comprised of seven videos on the television pictured above that were all so complex and each had something different to say.

I learned from a brochure I picked up from the exhibit that Visual AIDS has been celebrating Day With(out) Art since 1989, and on these days they invited art organizations around the world to distribute AIDS awareness brochures, hold art exhibits to inform and bring people affected by AIDS together, and even temporarily removing artwork from museums to illustrate loss. The title of this exhibit comes from Gregg Bordowitz who said, “THE AIDS CRISIS IS STILL BEGINNING.” For many, this phrase is very true, and yet still so many people are not informed about AIDS and are not aware of how many people it affects each and every day. This exhibit was eye-opening for me and I would encourage others to visit it as well.

Brochure from the exhibit highlighting it's purpose and giving context to the videos on display

I enjoyed all of the videos from this exhibit, but my favorite one was Shanti Avirgan’s Beat Goes On. This video highlighted the life of AIDS activist Keith Cylar and how he worked so hard during his short life to better the lives of people afflicted with AIDS. I think this video could encourage any person who views it to take action and help those suffering around them. I also really liked this exhibit because the brochure that went along with it had two glossary pages to help the viewers experience the exhibit fully. Also, the exhibit had a table full of AIDS information as well as health centers on our campus and condoms, promoting safe sex. This exhibit was really amazing and I wish it was even bigger, but maybe that goes against Visual AIDS’ purpose.

Table with a lot of information about safe sex, health centers, and AIDS

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