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New-York Historical Society Showcases Children With AIDS: Spirit and Memory, A Presentation of Photographs by Claire Yaffa

A Companion Exhibition to AIDS in New York: The First Five Years, Both on View June 7 – September 15, 2013

NEW YORK, NY, May 14, 2013—A new exhibition at the New-York Historical Society, Children With AIDS: Spirit and Memory, will feature twenty powerful black and white photographs by noted photographer and social realist Claire Yaffa from her collection “The Changing Face of Children with AIDS.” Installed in the Civil Rights Gallery from June 7 through September 15, 2013, the mid- to large-format photographs, taken from 1990-2000, reveal heartbreaking tales of children afflicted with HIV and AIDS.

Yaffa, whose photographs have been featured in The New York Times and other major publications, has worked for years to document medical institutions and their youngest patients, giving agency and voice to thousands of individuals—particularly children—struggling with life-threatening illnesses. Among the institutions that Yaffa worked with during her long artistic career is the Incarnation Children’s Center in the Bronx, one of the first organizations to care for orphaned infants born with HIV. In 1990, Yaffa began documenting the lives of afflicted children and adolescents at the Center, continuing her project over a period of ten years. Her haunting portraits capture the pathos and beauty of dozens of HIV’s youngest victims—most of whom did not survive to adulthood—and document the extraordinary devotion of the children’s caretakers.

Children With AIDS: Spirit and Memory is the companion exhibition to AIDS in New York: The First Five Years, an exploration of the early history of the AIDS epidemic in New York City from 1981 through 1985, also opening June 7. The exhibition traces the first rumors in 1981 of a “gay plague,” through the ensuing period of intense activism, clinical research, and political struggle. With a wealth of materials drawn from New-York Historical’s archives, as well as the archives of the New York Public Library, New York University, and the National Archive of LGBT History, the exhibition uses artifacts—including clinicians’ notes, journal entries, diaries, letters, audio and video clips, posters, photographs, pamphlets, and newspapers—to revisit the impact of the epidemic on personal lives and public culture in New York City and the nation.

On May 31, The World Science Festival will partner with the New-York Historical Society on the program “Ending the Epidemic: Science Advances on AIDS.” Moderated by Richard Besser, chief health and medical editor at ABC News, speakers will evaluate where we stand in the battle against HIV and AIDS and explore the most promising opportunities for future breakthroughs. Joining the conversation will be Dr. David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate on the hunt for a vaccine and cure; Peter Staley, a nationally-renowned AIDS activist whose work shifted the political landscape; and Susan Zolla-Pazner, a leading pathologist and immunologist. The program will include a special preview of the New-York Historical Society exhibitions about AIDS.

On June 26, the New-York Historical Society will host a discussion about the AIDS crisis and AIDS activism with playwright Larry Kramer, interviewed by Tony Kushner, and enhanced by a reading from Mr. Kramer’s classic play The Normal Heart by actor/director Joe Mantello.

Visitor Information

New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West between West 76th and West 77th Streets

Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday – 10am-6pm
Friday – 10am-8pm (6-8pm pay as you wish)
Sunday – 11am-5pm
Monday – CLOSED

About the New-York Historical Society

New-York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; Lincoln and New York; WWII & NYC; and the upcoming exhibition The Armory Show at 100, opening October 11th. Supporting these exhibitions and related educational programs is one of the world’s greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.

Press Contacts

New-York Historical Society                         Polskin Arts & Communications Counselors
Laura Washington                                      Sarah Buffum
(212) 873-3400 x263                                 (212) 715-1594
lwashington@nyhistory.org                        buffums@finnpartners.com

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Creative: Tronvig Group