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The Center for Visual Culture
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Bryn Mawr College

Summer Research Fellowships

Deborah Barkun


The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of the
History of Art summer research grant allowed me to devote time to
research the first chapter of my dissertation, which focuses on the
work of AIDS activist art collectives. During four research trips to New
York, I worked in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York
Public Library
. The Archives Division maintains several collections
central to my research, including the Day Without Art (NYPL) Collection,
the Gran Fury Collection, the Royal S. Marks AIDS Activist Video
Collection, and the records of the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS.
This material has framed my larger project, which addresses how shifting
conceptions of sexual, national, and artistic identity have shaped
artistic responses to the AIDS crisis in North America. I also examine
how these shifting conceptions and responses influenced the work of former
collaborative artists like David Wojnarowicz, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, AA
, and Zoe Leonard.

Generally, I am concerned with intersections of personal
expression and political activism, and private mourning and public
commemoration that emerged from this milieu. By analyzing the relevant
Archives Division collections, I have gained clearer insight into the
ideas and motives of AIDS activist art collectives, and the social,
cultural and political contexts that galvanized the development of these