ICP Gains McGovern’s Bearing Witness (to AIDS) Collection

Activist James Baggett during an ACT UP demonstration at New York’s City Hall, New York City, March 22, 1994

ICP Gains McGovern’s Bearing Witness (to AIDS) Collection

November 18, 2016

The International Center of Photography (ICP) has recently acquired the entirety of photographer and Afterimage contributor Thomas McGovern’s Bearing Witness (to AIDS) series, to be housed at the ICP’s newest location, 250 Bowery, in New York City. The portfolio includes over 200 vintage silver prints, originally published in McGovern’s 1999 book Bearing Witness (to AIDS), correspondence between artists following McGovern’s initial request for project participants, and several hours of audio interviews with people affected by AIDS. The ICP plans to catalog and digitize McGovern’s photographic prints for online viewing on the ICP website.

McGovern’s project spans 1987 to 1997, capturing the surge of AIDS activism during that period. In defiance of the “victim” label frequently applied to those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the photographic series documents individuals showcasing a sense of control by confronting their illness and associated medical treatment head-on. “I hoped to demonstrate some of the depth of people’s experiences about AIDS,” McGovern said in a press release, adding that the project addresses his own personal experience as well.

The contents of McGovern’s newly acquired collection will soon be available for online viewing at www.icp.org/browse.

Angela Freeman is New York-based writer, designer, and enthusiast of creative expression.

 

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