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"Suddenly It Seems Like You Might Know Him, You Might Go Over There": AIDS & the NYC Façades of John Miller's Clubs for America and Ira Sachs' Last Address

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"Suddenly It Seems Like You Might Know Him, You Might Go Over There": AIDS & the NYC Façades of John Miller's Clubs for America and Ira Sachs' Last Address

Trudel, Geneviève (2014) "Suddenly It Seems Like You Might Know Him, You Might Go Over There": AIDS & the NYC Façades of John Miller's Clubs for America and Ira Sachs' Last Address. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Drawing on personal interviews with the artists, this thesis looks at two formally similar artworks about HIV and urban space, made almost twenty years apart: John Miller’s photographic series Clubs for America (1992) and Ira Sachs’ short film Last Address (2010). Both categorized as New York streetscapes, the works focus on the individual façades of several buildings of understated relevance to the history of AIDS crisis in the city. Miller’s Clubs photographs the exteriors of ten shut-down gay sex clubs; Sachs documents the last apartments (and one house) of 28 artists who died of AIDS-related causes. Represented mediations of absence and loss therein form the crux interest of this thesis. This research critically positions the works within the cultural archive of HIV and AIDS. An overview of the production and reception of the works is provided. The troubled relationship of bodies to representation within the context of the AIDS crisis is considered for how it opens up a conversation around buildings as substitute for the absent body. The tension between interiors and exteriors is examined in relation to expression of intimacy and embodied experience. The thesis moves into an analysis of the presence of the body of the artist as witness to loss. The works are then situated in relation to a queer tradition of mapping of erotic city sites and considered for their different approaches to their subjects. Ultimately, this thesis speculates about emancipatory possibilities for healing presented within built environment by opening up the cultural archive of HIV and AIDS to the street.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Trudel, Geneviève
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 September 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Potvin, John
Keywords:HIV and AIDS Archive Ira Sachs John Miller Façades Representation Bodies Buildings Cities Photography Documentary
ID Code:979117
Deposited By: GENEVIEVE TRUDEL-GHERASHE
Deposited On:05 Nov 2014 20:16
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48

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