The Institute of Cultural Inquiry’s AIDS Chronicles (1994-2019): A Conversation with Antoinette LaFarge and Deborah Cullen-Morales

From 1993–2019, the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI) was an artist-run space of mostly women based in LA. In 1990, ICI founder and director, artist Lise Patt (1955-2019), joined with fellow artists to create the AIDS Bottle Project (1990-93), producing memorials in the form of reused jars that held the name, biography, and treasured objects of people lost to AIDS.  Later, the ICI also began developing the AIDS Chronicles, an annual volume consisting of bound-together New York Times’ covers from each day of the year, painted blood-red except for images or articles mentioning HIV or AIDS, to be displayed on World AIDS Day. 

Following Patt’s death and the closure of ICI in 2019, its records, including a selection of AIDS bottles and the complete collection of the AIDS Chronicles, were donated to the Getty Research Institute (GRI). Join moderator and GRI Curator Pietro Rigolo alongside Antoinette LaFarge and Deborah Cullen-Morales of the ICI for an online Zoom conversation around their projects related to memory and awareness during the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Participant Bios

Deborah Cullen-Morales, PhD, is a program officer for arts and culture at the Mellon Foundation. Previously, she served as executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts; director and chief curator of the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University; director of curatorial programs at El Museo del Barrio; and curator of the print collection at Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop. Her work focuses on modern and contemporary Latinx, Caribbean, and African American art, and she is currently co-editing the anthology, A Handbook of Latinx Art (UC Press). 

Antoinette LaFarge is an artist and writer whose visual work has taken form as computer-mediated performance, programmed installations, and digital prints. Recent art projects include Deep Earth (2021) and Burning Time (2018). She is the author of Sting in the Tale: Art, Hoax, and Provocation (2021) and Louise Brigham and the Early History of Sustainable Furniture Design (2019), and she is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology At the Margins: Experimental Engagements in Science, Literature, and the Arts (Brill, 2024). She is a professor of new media art at UC Irvine.

Pietro Rigolo, PhD, is Associate Curator for Modern and Contemporary Collections at the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in Los Angeles, where he co-curated the exhibitions Harald Szeemann: Museum of Obsessions (2018), Barbara T. Smith: The Way to Be (2023), and co-edited their accompanying publications.

This program is organized by the Getty Research Institute as part of the 2023 Circa: Queer Histories Festival, presented by One Institute.

  • The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts and their various histories through its expertise, active collecting program, public programs, institutional collaborations, exhibitions, publications, digital services, and residential scholars programs.