Medicine Man by Goldstein Kapellas Studio





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Uploaded on May 31, 2008

Nearly 300 empty HIV medication bottles collected during the past 15 years—including those of HIV-positive artists Daniel Goldstein and John Kapellas and their partners, some dead, some living—were used to construct Medicine Man. The suspended sculpture is over seven feet tall. Strands of steel wire are threaded with translucent orange bottles of various sizes to create the elements of the floating figure.

Viewers are reminded of the countless pills HIV positive people must take and of the life-sustaining power these medicines provide. Encircling the human-shaped cluster of bottles are 139 syringes, each tipped with a red droplet. This elicits both a feeling of being bombarded and of energy radiating out from the body.

"The piece speaks to the joy of living after having experienced so much death." says Goldstein. "One of the show's curators from India told me this piece gave her great hope." "The shapes in this piece echo many spiritual traditions." adds Kapellas. "From the resurrection in Christianity and the enlightened Buddha on the lotus, to the halos that surround the saints of all cultures."

Part of MAKE ART/ STOP AIDS, an international exhibition of art created to address the ongoing AIDS pandemic, Medicine Man was chosen to be the image on the show's banner and can be seen on light-posts across Westwood and Los Angeles.

An earlier work of Goldsteins' Icarian II is on loan to the Fowler from actor Richard Gere's private collection and will also be in the exhibition. Icarian II is the print of a Shroud-of-Turin-like human figure on leather inside a reliquary case. The form was created by human friction and sweat as the leather was once part of the workout equipment of a well-known SF gay gym in the years before the AIDS epidemic decimated the population. The show runs Feb 23- June 15 and then travels from UCLA to museums in Brazil, South Africa and India.

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