Living Room, San Francisco, 1986

curated by Matthew Terrell

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  • On view at
    Fulton County Emma Darnell Aviation Community Cultural Center
    3900 Aviation Circle, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30336* 
    June 23 - October 15, 2023
    Opening: Fri, Jun 23, 18:00

    starting June 23, 2023

  • Matthew Terrell curator interview, 2020

Dr. Cynthia Davis, Aubrey Longley-Cook, Robert Sherer, Joey Terrill, AIDS Memorial Quilt
The AIDS Memorial Quilt began in San Francisco in 1986 as a way to remember those who died from a mysterious and frightening new disease. A group of friends, including prominent AIDS activist Cleve Jones, gathered in Nancy Pelosi?s living room and began to stitch the beginnings of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Soon people from around the country sent Jones their own panels, and the project grew to become the largest community-based art project in the world. The quilt currently consists of more than 48,000 individual memorial panels and weighs an estimated 54 tons. In 2020, Pelosi announced that the quilt would soon be permanently housed at the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. Public display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt is part of the National AIDS Memorial?s efforts to bring the Quilt to communities across the United States to raise greater awareness and education about HIV/AIDS and to remember those lost to the pandemic.

Living Room, San Francisco, 1986 will recreate the early days of the quilt, while also bringing in work from contemporary artists (Dr. Cynthia Davis, Aubrey Longley-Cook, Robert Sherer, Joey Terrill) who address issues of HIV/AIDS and its legacy. This exhibit will be an immersive celebration of art as community activism. What viewers will leave with is an understanding of how grassroots projects, like the AIDS Memorial Quilt, can have a long-lasting impact. Viewers will get to step inside a gallery turned living room, and through strategically placed archival material and reproductions, feel like they are witness to history. The mix of artists affected by HIV/AIDS will trace a long legacy of HIV activism as art. As the AIDS Memorial Quilt moves to San Francisco permanently, this exhibition will give viewers a better understanding of this incredible piece of community art.

*The Aviation Community Cultural Center is located next to Fulton County Airport--Brown Field. When you turn into the entrance for Fulton County Airport, the building is immediately to the left. There is a circular driveway up front with handicap parking. Behind this there is a full parking lot and walkway to the building.
Matthew Terrell is an artist and writer based out of Atlanta. Terrell's most recent project, The Hate Shield, was a series of mobile soundproof walls that block hate speech. His public sculpture Atlanta's HIV+ Population Now at The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, used CDC data to chart HIV growth in Atlanta. Terrell has been an artist in residence at Djerassi, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and The Studios of Key West. His writing has appeared in Slate, VICE, Hyperallergic, San Francisco Weekly, and many more. Terrell received his BFA and MFA in writing from Savannah College of Art and Design; he also has an MA in communications from Georgia State University.

Installation Images

Opening Images

apexart’s program supporters past and present include the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Buhl Foundation, The Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Spencer Brownstone, the Kenneth A. Cowin Foundation, Epstein Teicher Philanthropies, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., William Talbott Hillman Foundation/Affirmation Arts Fund, the Fifth Floor Foundation, the Consulate General of Israel in New York, The Puffin Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and administered by LMCC, funds from NYSCA Electronic Media/Film in Partnership with Wave Farm: Media Arts Assistance Fund, with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.