Defining Moments: Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of AIDS with Dr Ted Gott

Dr Ted Gott discusses the landmark 1994 exhibition ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of AIDS’ at the National Gallery of Australia as part of ACCA’s lecture series Defining Moments: Australian Exhibition Histories 1968–1999.

In 1994 it was hard to open a newspaper in Australia, listen to a radio broadcast or turn on a television set without encountering some discussion of the ‘new’ disease AIDS and its causative factor, the HIV virus. In the same fashion, HIV/AIDS had come under scrutiny in many forms of cultural response from theatre and dance, to fiction, poetry, music and soap opera; such that the Australian public often then found its ‘entertainment’ engaged in serious debate around issues of illness, prejudice, medical research and death.

Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in Age of AIDS (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 12 November 1994 – 5 March 1995) presented over 200 works on the subject of HIV/AIDS by more than 100 Australian and international artists. This lecture looks back at the scope of the exhibition, and some of the stories around its inception.

Dr Ted Gott is Senior Curator of International Art, National Gallery of Victoria. He has curated and co-curated twenty-five exhibitions, including Napoleon: Revolution to Empire (2012), Gustave Moreau and the Eternal Feminine (2010), Salvador Dalí: LiquidDesire (2009), Modern Britain 1900–1960 (2007), Kiss of the Beast: From Paris Salon to King Kong (2005) and The Impressionists: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay (2004). In his former role as Curator of European Art at the National Gallery of Australia, Gott curated Don’t Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of AIDS (1994), among other key exhibitions of international art. He has published widely on Australian, British and French art.

This two-year series is presented in association with Abercrombie & Kent and Research Partner, Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at The University of Melbourne and supported by Art Guide Australia, The Saturday Paper, Triple R, The Melbourne Gin Company, Capi and the City of Melbourne.

Video produced by Gatherer Media.