The Metropolitan Museum of Art will participate in World AIDS Day for the 11th consecutive year by observing "A Day Without Art" on Wednesday, December 1, 1999. This year's theme is AIDS — End the Silence. Listen, Learn, Live! and is designed to open communication about HIV/AIDS, especially among those under age 25. It also aims to increase awareness of prevention strategies, encourage caring attitudes toward people with AIDS, and help dispel the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
In recognition of the drastic losses suffered by the cultural community as a result of AIDS, the Metropolitan Museum is removing from view or draping in black at least one significant object from each of its 17 curatorial departments. In addition, no flowers will be displayed in the Metropolitan's Great Hall, and flags on its plaza will be lowered to half-mast to symbolize the loss to the art community due to AIDS-related deaths. In the Metropolitan's Great Hall, Museum volunteers will distribute educational information about AIDS.
The following explanatory text will appear in place of the works of art removed from the galleries:
This work of art has been removed from view as part of the Museum's participation in "A Day Without Art," an international program to mark AIDS Awareness Day. With this action, we hope to symbolize the profound social and cultural impact of the disease.
Many artists, collectors, and art historians, as well as employees, friends, and supporters of The Metropolitan Museum of Art were among the millions of people lost to AIDS. In addition, more than twenty-five million men, women, and children of all races, religions, ages, and sexual orientations are already infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
We mourn this tragedy and hope that our symbolic action will heighten the awareness of AIDS and help save lives in years to come. More information about AIDS is available in the Great Hall.
Among the works to be removed from the galleries or shrouded are Raphael's The Agony in the Garden, Renoir's Two Young Girls at the Piano (1892), Picasso's Gertrude Stein (1906), and a seventh-century Greek bronze of a head of a griffin.
A complete list of the works removed from the galleries will be posted in the Metropolitan's Great Hall. The works will be returned to view on December 2.
The Cloisters, the Metropolitan's branch museum for medieval art in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, will also participate by shrouding its renowned Annunciation Triptych (ca. 1425) by Robert Campin. Educational information about AIDS will be available at the admissions desk in the Main Hall of the Cloisters.
# # #
November 29, 1999