Gregg Bordowitz and Pamela Sneed will present the first episode of a year-long project exploring the intersection of art and health activism, a subject that has influenced both their work and lives in myriad ways since the AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s.
Friday, Nov. 17: 8pm
Healthcare Not Warfare: A Tragi-comedy
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Gregg Bordowitz and Pamela Sneed will present the first episode of a year-long project exploring the intersection of art and health activism, a subject that has influenced both their work and lives in myriad ways since the AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s. Presented by Bordowitz and Sneed, this event will combine the format of a conference, Town Hall meeting and a chat show, during which they will invite collaborators OlaRonke Akinmowo, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Morgan Bassichis, Miguel Gutierrez, Viva Ruiz, and audience members to address this subject. Healthcare Not Warfare: A Tragi-comedy takes the relationship between the AIDS public health crisis and the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic as a pivotal convergence during a time of increasing climate chaos, to consider the ways that performance can inspire and activate change.
Through varied mediums, overall, the project will address how capitalism and climate chaos affect people who are repeatedly overlooked, disregarded, and even controlled by the health system in the US—including the crisis of healthcare for Black women in the U.S., the denial of gender affirming care, access to healthcare and basic rights for trans people and people with disabilities, overall emphasizing the ways class and racial capitalism impact healthcare access and quality of care. Healthcare Not Warfare: A Tragi-comedy is a call to action on issues of social inequity that shape our health and our lives.
This event will be the first of a series of gatherings that explore different strategies of movement building, culminating in a live television variety show presented in fall 2024, hosted by Bordowitz and Sneed, with contributions from artists, musicians, comedians, performers, and other activists and experts in this field. Both artists are Leos born in 1964 and grew up as part of the first generation who experienced the world via broadcast television sets; as such, each often utilizes recognizable genres from popular culture as containers for composition to mix different kinds of cultural production, creating a format that is both familiar and accessible towards the formation of new constituencies.
Masks are strongly encouraged to support each other in the space and we will also provide N-95 masks for use.
About Gregg Bordowitz
Gregg Bordowitz is a filmmaker, writer, activist and teacher whose work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, The New Museum, Artist's Space, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Tate Modern, among others. His work has been the subject of a traveling retrospective spanning 30 years of activity—Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well—first organized by the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, in 2018; exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, and MoMA PS1. In the 1980s, Bordowitz focused his creative practice on responding to the AIDS crisis. He organized and documented many protests against government inaction and advocated for health education and harm reduction as a member of the groundbreaking AIDS activist group ACT UP and an educator for GMHC. He also served as a founding member of the 1980s video/film collectives Testing the Limits and Diva TV.
About Pamela Sneed
Pamela Sneed is a New York based poet, performer and visual artist. She is the author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery (1998), KONG and Other Works (2009), Sweet Dreams (2018) and Funeral Diva (2020). Funeral Diva was featured in the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Lit Hub, Art Net and more. Funeral Diva also won the 2021 Lambda Lesbian Poetry Award and recommended by The New York Times alongside Barack Obama’s memoir. Additionally in 2021, she was a panelist for The David Zwirner Gallery’s More Life exhibit, and has spoken at Bard Center for Humanities, The Ford Foundation, The Gordon Parks Foundation, Columbia University, The New School, New York Public Library, The Brooklyn Museum, MOMA, DIA, NYU’s Center for the Humanities. She has published in The Paris Review, Frieze, Artforum, The Academy of American Poets, The Brooklyn Rail, THEM, BOMB, and most recently Poetry Magazine. She has appeared in Nikki Giovanni’s “The 100 Best African American Poets." Her visual work was featured at Leslie Lohman Museum, The Ford Foundation, Kates-Ferris and currently at The Lumber Room in Portland. In 2022, she had a solo show at Laurel Gitlen Gallery. She won the 2021 Black Queer Art Mentorship Award. She participated as a reader in the 2022 Whitney Biennial and was a narrator for Coco Fusco’s film, also in the 2022 Whitney Biennial. She has had keynotes at Yale University, Georgetown University and SAIC. She won a BOFFO residency on Fire Island in August 2022. In March 2023, she premiered a solo performance A Tribute to Big Mama Thorton which broke a record at the Armory for the earliest performance ever sold out. She will present a production of A Tribute to Big Mama Thorton at Joes Pub in March 2024.
Protest and Performance: A Way of Life is supported by the Ford Foundation and as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York
Senior Program Advisor and Curator at Large: Defne Ayas
Senior Curator: Kathy Noble
Hartwig Art Foundation Curatorial Fellow: Sakhi Gcina
Performa Biennial 2023 Baltic Fellow: Tina Petersone