Maharam Celebrates the AIDS Memorial Quilt
On October 14 and 15, 2022, Maharam will partner with the National AIDS Memorial and the New York City AIDS Memorial on a series of free public workshops at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, to mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, the response of the creative community has been essential to raising awareness and support for those affected by the disease. In this spirit, Maharam and the New York City AIDS Memorial have invited artists and collaborators to lead a series of quilting workshops at which members of the public who have been impacted by HIV and AIDS can create new panels that will be added to the Quilt.
Visual artists such as Justin Chance, Jordan Nassar, Jessi Reaves, Elaine Reichek, Tuesday Smillie, and Qualeasha Wood will work alongside members of the Maharam Design Studio to assist with design and construction. Participating artists have also been invited to create panels themselves which will be displayed at the Whitney before being added to the Quilt. Maharam collaborators including Polly Apfelbaum, Marcel Dzama, and Tabboo! will contribute panels. Textiles and other quilting materials will be supplied by Maharam.
Over the course of two days, the workshops will provide a forum for cross-generational conversation, continuing the intention of the activists who first imagined the Quilt—to inform, to share, and to build community. The workshops will also be attended by Quilt cofounder and conservator Gert McMullin, one of the six activists who began the Quilt in 1987 and who has cared for every panel of the Quilt since.
“The arts and creative community has been a part of the Quilt since the very beginning,” says McMullin. “We are honored to be part of these workshops to continue that tradition, making new panels as a reminder that the fight is not over and that we must never forget those we’ve lost.”
Maharam is honored to contribute to a historic project that so embodies a spirit of collaboration, creative expression, and social justice; that is so rooted in the traditions of textile design; and that so aligns with the company’s core values.
“It is our honor to support the AIDS Memorials’ tireless work in not only commemorating the individuals lost to AIDS but also supporting the caregivers, educators, and activists who have helped change the trajectory of this epidemic,” says Mary Murphy, Maharam’s senior vice president of design. “That we were invited to bring our own community of collaborators and designers to support this important mission is a tremendous privilege and opportunity.”
“From the six-person collective who created the iconic Silence=Death poster in 1987 to the thousands of individuals who have crafted the 50,000 panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt over the past thirty-five years, artistic expression has been vital in both fighting to end the AIDS epidemic and illustrating its ongoing impact,” says Dave Harper, executive director of the New York City AIDS Memorial. “We are delighted to collaborate with this wide breadth of artists and partners. AIDS is not over and, as such, the AIDS Memorial Quilt continues to grow. Connecting communities through collaboration will help us ensure the lessons and stories of the AIDS epidemic will be taught to future generations.”
Those interested in participating in the workshops can learn more at the NYC AIDS Memorial website.
Generous support has been provided by the New York City Council Speaker Initiative (LGBTQIA+ Caucus) and by the National AIDS Memorial.
Participating artists: Polly Apfelbaum, Chris Bogia, Travis Boyer, Justin Chance, Stephanie Crawford, Poppy DeltaDawn, Marcel Dzama, Daniele Frazier, Peter Hristoff, Anthony Iacono, Caitlin Keogh, Mike Linskie, Reverend Joyce McDonald, Sophy Naess, Jordan Nassar, Jessi Reaves, Elaine Reichek, Tuesday Smillie, Tabboo!, Alessandro Teoldi, Qualeasha Wood (list as of 9.19).
About the National AIDS Memorial and AIDS Memorial Quilt
The National AIDS Memorial is the caretaker of the National AIDS Memorial Grove and the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The ten-acre Grove is the USA’s federally designated memorial to AIDS, located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Quilt, founded in 1987 by a group of activists in San Francisco to memorialize friends and loved ones who had died of AIDS, sparked a national movement for action and remembrance. Today the Quilt has grown to include over 50,000 handstitched, three-by-six-feet panels—each the size of a grave—with 110,000 names sewn to its fabric. The 1.2 million-square-foot Quilt is considered the largest ongoing community arts project in the world. Hundreds of new panels are added to the Quilt each year, serving as a reminder that the epidemic is not over. The entire Quilt can be viewed and searched online.
About the New York City AIDS Memorial
Founded as a grass-roots advocacy effort in 2011, the New York City AIDS Memorial honors the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died of AIDS and acknowledges the contributions of caregivers and activists who mobilized to provide care for the ill, fight discrimination, lobby for medical research, and alter the drug approval process. The Memorial aims to inspire visitors to remember and reflect as well as empower current and future activists, health professionals, and people living with HIV in the continuing mission to eradicate the disease through the maintenance of a permanent, architecturally significant Memorial as well as through educational and cultural programming.