Museum announces new acquisition, World AIDS Day programming

Posted on November 28th, 2012

Museum acquires symbolic art thanks to community benefactor
Taryn Simon photograph meant to serve as a reminder

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Milwaukee Art Museum announced a new acquisition, purchased with funds from the Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, given by Milwaukee philanthropist and community advocate Joseph R. Pabst. The acquisition is in recognition of World AIDS Day and will be on view December 1 through December 9.

“Live HIV, HIV Research Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts” by Taryn Simon was exhibited last year as part of the exhibition Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts and is a photograph of a vial containing the live HIV virus, taken at an HIV research laboratory at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. The image was included in the series An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007), which comprises photographs and texts revealing objects and sites that are integral to America’s foundation, mythology, or daily functioning but remain inaccessible or unknown to the public.

“I was moved when I saw this work on view in the Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts exhibition. To me, it is a stunning reminder of the millions of people who live with HIV, and those who have lost their battle,” said Joseph Pabst. “The Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund was created to improve our community through arts and education, and I can think of no better way to highlight the continuing epidemic of HIV and AIDS than by publicly showcasing artwork that reminds us that our work is not done.”

Simon is a noted young photographer who has exhibited nationally and internationally, and her images have appeared in numerous publications. By highlighting the precarious and often unreliable seams between photographic imagery, textual material, and definitive knowledge, Simon’s art draws attention to habits of inference and judgment. Given a contemporary world rife with images and information, her work speaks to issues that affect the world.

“The Museum is grateful to Mr. Pabst for his donation and his continued support of the Museum and our community at large,” said Daniel Keegan, Museum director. “Art is meant to inspire, and I hope that this photograph will inspire others on World AIDS Day and beyond.”

World AIDS Day is acknowledged each year on December 1. It is estimated that over thirty-four million people worldwide are infected with HIV or AIDS, and over thirty million have died from the disease since it was first identified over twenty years ago.

LECTURE: HIV in 2012: Hidden and Unfamiliar
Lubar Auditorium
Free and open to the public

Join Ronald Johnson of AIDS United and Mike Gifford of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin for this community commemoration of World AIDS Day. Ronald Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for AIDS United, Washington, DC, will take a provocative look at government policy and explore the opportunities for strategic responses to the epidemic. Mike Gifford, President and CEO of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, will join Ron Johnson in a question and answer session following Johnson’s presentation.

This community commemoration is being held in conjunction with the display of Taryn Simon’s photograph “Live HIV, HIV Research Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts” (2007), on view in the Contemporary Galleries through December 9.

The event is sponsored by the Milwaukee Art Museum, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, and the Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2013, the Milwaukee Art Museum collection houses over 30,000 works, with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum campus is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and spans three buildings, including the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion and the Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. For more information, please visit www.mam.org.

Joseph R. Pabst is a noted philanthropist who seeks to leverage his support while helping organizations make connections and increase impact. In 2004, Pabst established the Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to support organizations with a strong LGBT foundation that serve both the LGBT community and the community at large. His contributions to the Milwaukee Art Museum include support for the 2010 AIDS Quilts installation and the 2012 Currents 34: Isaac Julien installation, currently on view. In addition to his support of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Pabst was honored in 2010 as Philanthropist of the Year by the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin for his personal donations and innovative fundraising strategies.