The Metropolitan Museum of Art will observe World AIDS Day for the 21st consecutive year on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. In recognition of the devastating losses suffered by the cultural community as a result of AIDS, the Metropolitan will shroud or remove from view 15 works of art around the Museum. Stanchions in the Great Hall will acquaint visitors with the Museum's observance, and black ribbons will be tied around the flowers in the Great Hall. In addition, the Museum will lower the flags on its plaza to half-staff to symbolize the losses due to AIDS-related deaths in the art community.
Where works of art have been covered or removed from view in the galleries, the following explanatory text will appear:
The World Health Organization of the United Nations has designated December 1 as World AIDS Day. Since 1989, this has been a day when the international arts community pauses to recognize the disproportionate number of arts community members who have died or are living with AIDS. The Metropolitan Museum of Art continues its annual observance by shrouding works across the Museum on this date, both to reflect our sense of loss and to increase awareness of the global devastation that continues to be wrought by the disease. In August 2008, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that there were 33 million people living with HIV worldwide. Since the AIDS epidemic emerged in the early 1980s its immense toll has exceeded 25 million lives worldwide.
The works will be returned to view by Wednesday, December 2.
The Cloisters, the Metropolitan's branch museum for medieval art in Fort Tryon Park, will also participate in observing World AIDS Day.
The list of the works removed from view will also be available in the Great Hall for Museum visitors. Members of the media who wish to obtain the list of works to be removed from view should email the department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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November 30, 2009