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Criticizing the ways in which the mainstream media and fine arts photographers depict people with AIDS, art critic and AIDS activist Douglas Crimp called for fair representation of all people infected with the virus in a 90 minute speech at the Institute of Contemporary Art last night. Crimp showed slides of black and white photographs of AIDS patients, along with slides from television documentaries dealing with victims of the disease, to the audience of over 75 people. Crimp blamed the media and the art community for perpetuating negative images of AIDS victims. "These representations play an enormous role in the impossible task of fighting the AIDS epidemic," Crimp said. Crimp also showed photographs from an exhibit by Nicholas Nixon that appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and a series of photographs of AIDS patients by Rosalind Solomon. Crimp said that while these representations attempt to "give AIDS a face," they only include the "typical portraits" of gay men, prostitutes and drug users and not all people afflicted with AIDS. When AIDS-infected heterosexuals are portrayed, he added, they are shown as "ashamed, dying" men. Crimp also criticized the media for their choices of subjects for pieces on AIDS patients. Citing a 1983 segment of the ABC News show 20/20by Geraldo Rivera, Crimp told of Rivera's search for an "articulate" AIDS victim to appear on the show. Crimp said that when a prominent AIDS victim and vocal activist was suggested, Rivera replied, "We can't use him, he doesn't look sick." A victim whose face was bloated and whose skin was covered with lesions was chosen instead, Crimp said. Crimp also chastized the government for providing "meager funding" for AIDS organizations. "Our government is so much more interested in murdering people[in the Persian Gulf war] than keeping people alive," he said. Members of the audience said that were very impressed by Crimp's assessment of the AIDS situation. "It's a really important problem," said third-year Fine Arts graduate student Daniel Heyman. "It's really hard to get it across to people that wouldn't come to something like this." "It is important in the context of the University pulling out its support of AIDS Awareness Week," said Arts and Sciences graduate student Marc Stein. The lecture was part of a series sponsored by The Lesbian and Gay Academic Union of Philadelphia.

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