The exhibition, ‚ÄúIn Now‚Äôs Waters Burn the Stars of Then,‚ÄĚ features new works by Daniel Dallabrida at Magnet, the Castro hub of health and wellbeing. Later in the month, Dallabrida hosts a pan-generational evening of performance, poetry and video.
For the Magnet exhibition, Dallabrida introduces a new series subtitled ‚ÄúMemento Mori.‚ÄĚ The phrase, which dates to antiquity, translates ominously as, ‚ÄúRemember you will die.‚ÄĚ But Dallabrida, a 28-year AIDS survivor, sees this as an affirming reminder to focus on the treasure of life and the embrace of community.
Using ceramic and d√©collage, Dallabrida blends personal photographs with contemporary gay club and party posters. He weaves together his 35 years in queer and AIDS community activism, observations on legacy and questions about the role of elders in today‚Äôs community.
In each work, young gay men from the ‚Äė80s and ‚Äė90s share what Walt Whitman called ‚Äúthe love of comrades.‚ÄĚ They play unaware of our observation. They gaze with curiosity out into our world.
Prior to the exhibition at Magnet, Dallabrida posted ‚ÄúMemento Mori‚ÄĚ images on bulletin boards and lampposts in the Castro.
‚ÄúBefore I confined them to a gallery setting, I wanted my guys to have a look around,‚ÄĚ said Dallabrida. ‚ÄúHow would they see our time, I wonder? How would they react to queer-teen romance on Glee? To an openly gay military? To online cruising?‚ÄĚ
On March 26 at Magnet, 4122 18th Street, Dallabrida hosts ‚ÄúYounger Then Jesus; Older Than AIDS,‚ÄĚ a pan-generational evening of performance, poetry, and video. Participants will include writer/poet/historian Kevin Killian, artist Andrew Painter, poets Ryan Funk and Tom Comitta and more.
‚ÄúPlan for an evening where artists who were born after the advent of AIDS can trade experiences with those who knew a world without HIV,‚ÄĚ says Dallabrida. ‚ÄúWe will explore what was, what happened, what was lost and what we want for our future.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI am a story teller. Stories help us understand the world and our experience in it. Stories calm the cyclones in our heads and heal our hearts. Good stories maintain their relevance because they illuminate patterns of civilization and time.‚ÄĚ
He adds, ‚ÄúI make art to tell my stories, to tell our stories. The medium is less important than what I am trying to share.‚ÄĚ He prefers working with earthen materials - clay, water, iron, wood and the body.
His inspiration? ‚ÄúIn Rome, posters for movies, concerts and clubs are pasted onto building walls, layer upon layer, until they get several inches thick‚Ä¶The walls become a record of time.‚ÄĚ He continues, ‚ÄúI see the legacy of the gay community like those Roman walls. Our political and societal successes are built upon the efforts of those who came before us. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that they have left us - that we are alone. We look to the future, to the new.‚ÄĚ
His philosophy in life? ‚ÄúCelebrate the moment. Treasure the past. Build the future. Above all, be curious.‚ÄĚ