In observance of World AIDS Day, December 1, the exhibition presents a week-long installation focusing the public’s attention on HIV/AIDS and address issues of stigma and social death connected to the disease.
In the installation, red lights shine in two of the museum’s current exhibitions, American Dreams and Creativity and Invention in African Art. In order to address the disparity of AIDS cases in the United States and Africa, only one red light shines in the American art exhibition, while 24 red lights shine in the African art exhibition. Curator Amanda Hellman chooses to use red because it is the representative color of AIDS awareness. The exhibition also features the audio-piece “Improper Fraction,” created with Todd Whatley, a Chicago-based artist. In this audio-piece, derogatory and discriminatory phrases are whispered to reveal the stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS and to highlight that oppression often occurs through the social death that comes from prejudice in society.