Albert J. Winn
April 30, 2014 - June 1, 2014
Albert J. Winn
My Life Until Now
In 1990, artist Albert J. Winn was diagnosed with AIDS. At the time, such a diagnosis seemed like a death sentence, as medical research and public education had still not caught up with the aggressive spread of the epidemic. As a way to challenge mainstream images that equated fear and shame with the disease, Winn soon began documenting his own experience living with AIDS as a gay Jewish man in a committed relationship. The black-and-white images in My Life Until Now span more than two decades, visualizing the intimacy between a married couple, their extended family, and their animal companions over time, as well as the everyday necessity of medication and the stress of regular hospital trips. Now, as Winn faces another health-related battle with cancer, his project has taken on a new form of urgency, as he continues to investigate his life from a perspective he never thought possible.
“Recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer, I am suddenly cast back to the early days of the AIDS crisis where a disease threatens to take over my life, even the way I live. It raises the question of what it means to be a long term survivor, because now I have lived long enough to acquire the diseases of old age: an idea completely unimaginable in the early years of the epidemic. Before the new medical regime, it was not uncommon to hear from the infected, myself included, ‘I just don’t want to die from AIDS.’ It was a statement of desperation and a statement of defiance that AIDS wouldn’t kill us, that we would defeat the disease by not letting it get us first. We knew it was hypothetical but now, I am presented with the opportunity for real.”
Albert J. Winn is a photographer based in Los Angeles. He is a part-time faculty member at California Institute for the Arts, where he received his MFA, as well as Moorpark College. He also holds an MA from the University of Florida, and a BS from Pennsylvania State University. Winn has exhibited solo shows at Open Lens Gallery at the Gershman YM/YWHA in Philadelphia, The Jewish Museum in New York, Metro Center for the Arts in Denver, Film in the Cities in Minneapolis, ARC Gallery in Chicago, and the Photographic Resource Center in Boston. His work is housed in the permanent collections of The Library of Congress, The Jewish Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the International Center of Photography, Light Work at Syracuse University, One National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, and the Visual AIDS Archive in New York. In addition to his photographic accomplishments, Winn has served as the madrich at WUJS, Arad, Israel and worked for several years in the banana fields of Kibbutz Ma’anit and the date orchards of Kibbutz Grofit, Israel.