The story of MAKE ART/STOP AIDS spans from Kolkata to Los Angeles, Mexico City to Rio de Janeiro, and from Johannesburg to Mumbai.

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Opening at the UCLA Fowler Museum on February 23, 2008, the MAKE ART/STOP AIDS Exhibition was greeted by one of the largest crowds in the museum's history. An estimated 800 people, including both invited guests and the general public, viewed a performance of Biro by Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine and then flowed into the exhibition gallery. Fowler Museum staff commented that the opening for the MAKE ART/STOP AIDS Exhibition was not only one of the largest events the museum had ever hosted in terms of attendance, but also that it was the most diverse. Nearly 20,000 people witnessed the exhibition at the Fowler over its three-month run.


The unique collection, which showcases approximately 75 contemporary works of art from the United States, South Africa, India and Brazil, presented artists' responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic from the last 25 years. Curated by Professors David Gere and Robert Sember, it is the most complete global retrospective of artistic responses to HIV/AIDS assembled to date. Artists featured in the collection included Robert Gober, David Wojnarowicz, Fiona Kirkwood, Daniel Goldstein, Jean Carlomusto, Jose Leonilson Bezerra Dias, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and the collective Gran Fury, among others.


The exhibition was divided into seven separate sections, each posing a relevant question:


1. What is AIDS?

2. Who Lives? Who Dies?

3. Why Are Condoms Controversial?

4. Are You Afraid to Touch?

5. When Was the Last Time You Cried?

6. Why a Red Ribbon?

7. Are You Ready to Act?


The MAKE ART/STOP AIDS Exhibition received strong reviews through various media outlets, including a local Los Angeles NPR station, KCRW, which offered, "The exhibition ... provides more than just a lecture on the difficult subject of AIDS and the fragility of life: it finds poetry where few of us dare to search. There are a number of artworks that are simply impossible to get out of your mind because of their visual eloquence."


The exhibition MAKE ART/STOP AIDS was made possible through grants from the Ford Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and Peter Norton Family Foundation.


An adapted version of the exhibition, renamed Not Alone, toured through South Africa in 2009 – 2010.


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