previews

  • Brian Weil, Transvestite Safe-Sex Outreach Worker, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1987, gelatin silver print, 31 1/4 x 31 1/4".

    Brian Weil

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia
    University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
    February 6 - March 31

    Curated by Stamatina Gregory

    Brian Weil, a well-known photographer during the ungodly early years of the AIDS catastrophe, had a fierce, empathic love for people. He founded the first (then illegal) needle-exchange program in the Bronx, to help stop the spread of HIV. Overdosing in 1996 at the age of forty-one, he died trying. In this show of sixty works dating from 1981 to 1992, we will see Weil’s AIDS-related photos as well as earlier, freakier projects that profile fringe groups, sex nuts (e.g., an aroused man and a fish tank!), dead people, and boxers. Weil’s deep engagement with his subjects should emerge through his characteristic scrim of grainy film. And though time and tragedy now separate us from his dark beauty and charisma, the gulf will be partially bridged by the catalogue’s texts: a 1986 interview with the artist by Claudia Gould, an essay by the curator, and testimonies from people who knew Weil.