Saturday, July 25, 2015

Heroes and Survivors

Two important exhibitions coming to TAM and MOG

Published in the Weekly Volcano, July 23, 2015
Kia Labeija, “Mourning Sickness,” 2014. Inkjet print, 16 × 24 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
Hey Tacomans, do you know how fortunate you are to have two world-class art museums? Few cities the size of Tacoma have such treasures Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass. These museums not only bring great art and great artists to town (and show the works of great artists already living and working here), but they also touch our hearts and minds and educate the populace about critical social and political issues and events that touch the lives of everyone.
Scheduled for fall openings are two exhibitions that should be of interest to many Tacomans and, particularly, to the soldiers and their families at JBLM.
Art AIDS America at Tacoma Art Museum
Art AIDS America at Tacoma Art Museum explores the AIDS epidemic from the early days in the 1980s when no one fully understood what it was, how it was contracted and spread; to today when many people have now lived with HIV/AIDS for decades —albeit with drug regimens that are themselves devastating.
Ten years in the making, and featuring more than 115 works of art created over a 30-year span, Art AIDS America is America’s first comprehensive exhibition of art by and about the AIDS epidemic. Throughout that 30-year history, artists have created AIDS-related art that is angry, sad, hopeless and hopeful, including political protests against the lack of government reaction to the epidemic and against drug companies that were more concerned with the bottom line than the lives of fellow citizens.
Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire at Museum of Glass
In 2013 Museum of Glass piloted a new program called Hot Shop Heroes: Healing with Fire. Led by glass instructors, soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord’s Warrior Transition Battalion worked in the museum’s hot shop to fire glass art expressing their experience as warriors. Hot Shop Heroes is an exhibition of work created by JBLM soldiers who are veterans of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The soldiers in the program have all served at least one deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan; some have multiple deployments
Not all work created in the program is included. The exhibition is from spring and summer classes in 2015, classes that are ongoing at the time this article is being written, meaning we do not yet know what works will be included.
A MOG press release states that the works includes personal expressions of the soldiers’ personal experiences and feelings about war and life in the military and also "a few pieces that are more lighthearted and are representational of the basic glass-working skills acquired during their participation in the program."

Hot Shop Heroes opens Sunday, Nov. 8 at Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock Street, Tacoma,

Art AIDS America opens Oct. 3 at Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma,

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