|Hosted by Christie’s Auction House in London, celebrities such as chat show host Graham Norton, This Morning’s resident doctor Ranj Singh, legendary dancer Wayne Sleep and Outlanderstar Lauren Lyle all threw their support behind the event. 

Some of the biggest lots of the night included a Brexit-inspired sculpture by renowned artist Grayson Perry and a design by Turner Prize winner Antony Gormley. 

Oil canvas painting, Lost Boys by Paul Chisholm, received lots of interest. The painting was inspired by the boys lost to the HIV epidemic throughout the decades and related suicide. It also points to stigma faced by those boys affected by HIV within modern day society.

During the bidding for this lot, the painting served as a reminder that while leaps and bounds have been made in HIV treatment, ending HIV stigma continues to be a major challenge. 

Other big-selling items included a colourful and energetic piece by longstanding Terrence Higgins Trust supporter Andrew Salgado and a plus-one experience with James Corden to attend the premiere of Cats: the Movie later this year. 

THE TERRENCE HIGGINS TRUST PRESS RELEASE 2019 AS SEEN ON MIDLANDS ZONE GAY NEWS

I MEAN IT MR PAUL DAVID CHISHOLM. IN A TIME WHERE INGRAINED GENDER BIAS, SYSTEMIC SEXISM AND HORRIFYING OTHERISM ARE DESPAIRINGLY ENDEMIC YOUR DELIGHTFULLY RAUNCHY AND BOLDLY INTELLECTUAL VOICE ARE NEEDED MORE NOW THAN EVER.

WENDY ACKRELL AMERICAN ARTIST 2018


“I figured you are presenting the fun as a form of escapism, but I find something more poignant within everything you do. It's profoundly personal, but also universal because it speaks to all the people that might be in your position - struggling with discrimination, working out through strict upbringing, and especially those dealing with AIDS today. It's like a humorous, but serious breaking of taboos, something we all need today. I think your work is more serious than it initially shows.” 

Ana Bambic Kostov  Art Critic 2018 

 

The gallery concludes with Paul Chisholm’s Love & H*I*V*. According to the artist’s statement, at the core of his interests lie the painful emotions of human nature crossed with the whimsicality of everyday occurrences. His piece is a tough pill to swallow and literally, a cross that many have to bear each day. Denying love to someone who has HIV is one of the biggest crimes someone can commit. If we all open up to the mysteries of life and love, we can see the world in a more positive manner. I take my hat off to these artists and to the rest of the incredible group that make Visual AIDS. Seneca once said, “It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.” So, let’s party.

"Miguel Figueroa is a editor, writer and sometimes photographer based in Brooklyn" visual aids 2013

" QUITE THE PROVOCATEUR" BY BRUCE FLOWERS - CURATOR /CRITIC 2017

You are quite the subversive lad! Quite the provocateur.  I was most impressed with your piece Viral Load.  As a sculptor myself, I relate best to 3-D form.  This is a powerful piece – odd, though, that the excellent accompanying commentary doesn’t mention black as the colour of death.  This penis is in part undoubtedly a powerful a statement precisely because it uses black.  The HIV crisis was called the “Plague” in my day with its obvious reference to the Black Death/Plague. Is this curator so afraid of not being politically correct he dare not reference black’s symbolic association lest it impute black men’s penises, too?   Possibly.  Certainly, he views the relevance of the red colour chosen for the pins on the glans as worthy of comment and that they signify ‘Danger” [i.e. HIV virus in the ejaculate]   Neither does he reference that this penis is erect.  The fact that only in its erect state can the penis be an HIV vector is an important feature . The tumescence is relevant.  – ready for action/loaded, so to speak.  Flaccid, a penis is not a threat for infection.  

Too, I was particularly drawn to the three sculptures of Suffocating Oceans – again, very sculptural pieces.  The comprised body of the outstretched ‘mollusk’ is plastic, a relevance to the choking of the oceans and its creatures with our plastic detritus. All three evocations of endangered sea life were evocative but I really liked the mollusk and shell in particular as its impact is immediate understanding.  

The cross formed of Fuck Me I Have . .  and  Love and HIV is hugely powerful, too.  I think of guys who emotionally have a deep need to be physically penetrated to be fulfilled and are fearful of never being so held again.   Here they are desperately needing human compassion and human touch, probably more so in their present infectious state than at any other point in their Life.  Where is the guy who is loving and courageous enough to penetrate them knowing his partner is HIV infected?  Not a lot of those around, I’m afraid, though the transmission rate is miniscule with a condom [and “prep” follow-up in the advent of condom breakage].  This is a complex, layered, piece as the cross symbolizes both Death from disease, Suffering, Penance, Love, Sacrifice –all things with which HIV infected persons and their partners can identify in the sexual act of intercourse. i could go on and on about your pieces, particularly a sculpture like Screw You but  - ENOUGH! 

 

ONE WORK: PAUL CHISHOLM ON “APRIL 23 RD 1984”BY TED KERR

video still giccle print 1/3 + a/p, Paul Chisholm

On April 23 1984 Margaret Heckler, President Reagan's secretary of health and human services from March 1983 to December 1985, held a press conference with scientist Robert Gallo to announce that he had located the virus (The day before French scientists claimed they had found the virus). Earlier that day it had been announced that there were 4,177 reported AIDS cases in America and 1,807 deaths. At the press conference Heckler told a desperate public that an AIDS vaccine was 2 years away. Three decades later there is no vaccine.

Heckler's action epitomizes a problematic administration. In 2006 interview for PBS she was asked about the support her department had from President Reagan. She responded, “This was not a problem that money could solve; it was a problem that the scientist could solve.” Deferring to the medical establishment Heckler sidestepped the Reagan administration's responsibility for the crisis, something others who worked for the US government were not willing to do. In an interview about Regan’s response to AIDS, C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General from 1982 to 1989 stated, "Some people have said that it was a homophobic administration. I think that's a bad word. Homophobia has the connotation of being fearful. This wasn't fear, it was hatred."

By the time Regan did say AIDS, in 1987, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with AIDS and 20,849 had died. The disease had spread to 113 countries, with more than 50,000 cases. Today more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and 33.4 million are currently living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. There is still no vaccine, no cure; AIDS is ongoing.

Below, artist Paul Chisholm discusses his connection to the infamous press conference, a moment he captured in his art work.

23 rd April 1982
Limited edition print

A debilitating fear and the panic of the unknown had finally been given a name, the virus had been discovered by scientists.

A monumental date in the AIDS crisis this day finally gave us a physical and scientific grasp of hope over a plague that had had until that point no name, no explanation and was known only through deep speculation, rumors and fear.

In my mind’s eye this moment of Heckler is an iconic turning point in the history of AIDS. With the American government’s lack of action finally we had an image of the enemy, meanwhile all around us people were simply dropping dead.

Writing this 30 years later I sit in trepidation. What will this video still conjure up in people 20 years from now?

ITS REALLY ABOUT LOVE - ALDRIN VALDEZ -ARTSLANT 

Other works combine smirking irony and self-awareness with confrontational bluntness. Paul Chisholm’s makeshift crucifix, Love & H*I*V (2010), and Andrew Graham’s AIDS is God’s Curse (2009), are two of those purposely disturbing and inflammatory word-images. Like Imagevirus, they’re meant to make you feel uncomfortable with their double entendre. Chisholm’s vinyl letters on two crisscrossing pieces of plywood read “Fuck me I have… love and HIV." It’s a message that points to a complicated doubling which exists inherently in language. Fuck me, because I have love. Fuck me, too, for my circumstances. Similarly, Graham’s wordsmithry overturns Fred Phelps’s hate mongering by placing the onus on God; AIDS is His curse. Ultimately, as these artists have shown, the meaning of a word or an image comes down to the reading, to the context in which it exists.

VIRAL LOAD - BRUCE FLOWERS - CURATOR -CRITIC 2017 

You are quite the subversive lad! Quite the provocateur. I was most impressed with your piece Viral Load. As a sculptor myself, I relate best to 3-D form. This is a powerful piece – odd, though, that the excellent accompanying commentary doesn’t mention black as the colour of death. This penis is in part undoubtedly a powerful a statement precisely because it uses black. The HIV crisis was called the “Plague” in my day with its obvious reference to the Black Death/Plague. Is this curator so afraid of not being politically correct he dare not reference black’s symbolic association lest it impute black men’s penises, too? Possibly. Certainly, he views the relevance of the red colour chosen for the pins on the glans as worthy of comment and that they signify ‘Danger” [i.e. HIV virus in the ejaculate] Neither does he reference that this penis is erect. The fact that only in its erect state can the penis be an HIV vector is an important feature . The tumescence is relevant. – ready for action/loaded, so to speak. Flaccid, a penis is not a threat for infection.

 Visual Aids Blog

Eli Manning Curator 2011

 Depicting viral loads and dildos, Paul Chisholm’s work is particularly interesting. In VIRAL LOAD (2010), straight pins puncture this phallus with a congregation of red pins, signaling danger, concentrated at the very tip of the cock. In this era of neoliberalism, where people are held more individually responsible for personal and public health, viral load also becomes a way to know how infectious one is; viral load becomes a (re)markable way to predict transmission rates as we see in new prevention technologies such as community viral load mapping. Now, having a viral load is not only potentially damaging to one’s own health, but also dangerous for those uninfected. Purity and Danger (2010) more pointedly remarks on the threat not only of the virus in semen, but also on positioning subjects in oppositional stances within debates on barebacking and HIV prevention. Now more than ever, one who has a viral load is marked as dangerous and criminal, at least in Canada with the 2012 Supreme Court non-disclosure ruling. L. Robert Westeen’s Criminalization Is Not A Cure (2013) reminds us that criminalizing people living with HIV is counterproductive to stopping AIDS by highlighting the continued, but revised medicalization of HIV prevention