The piece is inspired by the Fall 1988 article “Caught in the Storm” by Allan Bérubé:
“Why was the HIV destroying Brian’s body? His science told us that viruses, like storms and plagues of locusts, are experienced by humans as natural disasters but are not evil forces intent on causing misery. If the virus had any ‘purpose’ or ‘interest’ at all, it was to thrive and reproduce.”
Sustaining Life, Embracing Death
Let us bless the well
the circle of life
– Marcia Falk
Ceramic crock in 4 pieces, 17″ x 7″ x 6.5”
The idea that AIDS was this really horrific disease that transformed the community, people’s bodies, and the way people were relating to sex really moved me. It relates to my own exploration of fungus and fermentation as concepts of transformation/alchemy. The idea that mushrooms are a process of regeneration/life proliferation via decomposition has been really inspiring. Queer and trans people have always had to deal with the legacy of death. This is also true for Jewish communities living with this legacy of violence. This OUT/LOOK quote is a fascinating take on AIDS as this proliferating disease and its inherent desire to spread in an intuitive way. In Nazi Germany, Jews were described as “Poisonous Mushrooms” in their passibility and potential deception as non-Jewish. I’ve been really committed to this idea that “poisonous mushrooms” is actually a really empowering way to think about a marginalized community. I wonder if it’s useful to think about queerness, rather than disease, as “mushroom-like,” this proliferating, life-giving, indefatigable being in the world that reproduces itself constantly.
Nicki Green is a trans disciplinary artist based in San Francisco whose work explores topics of history preservation, ornamentation and the aesthetics of marginalization. She received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 and is a current MFA candidate at UC Berkeley. She has exhibited her work nationally, notably at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, and the San Francisco Contemporary Jewish Museum.