CAI is thrilled to bring you a new multi-part blog post. For this series of posts, we are stepping away from our traditional commentary on HIV/AIDS. We will look at HIV/AIDS through the lens of the art and words of Outsider-Kansas City artist, Bruce Burstert, and his former partner Robert Smith, long ago claimed by AIDS. This is the first in a new series of blog post looking at HIV/AIDS through the micro lens of other artists.
Have you ever had someone tell you that they have contracted HIV? We were sitting in the parking lot of a liquor store when he told me. It was surreal; even after all the interviews, all the talks, and information I had around HIV/AIDS, I still found myself speechless and scrabbling to try and not say something dumb, something I knew was not the truth, like, “everything’s going to be okay” because most likely it is going to be okay, but do I know that for a fact?
I won’t lie: I had some trepidation about working closely with, sleeping next to, and caring for a bunch of sick kids in the beginning. Yes, at that time I’d been longtime wonderful friends with many, many poz adults. Perhaps I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to care for the kids in the way that they needed. And perhaps I was a little scared that I could, and that I would really grow to love them.
The article “Please Don't Infect Me, I am Sorry,“ written in 2012 by Rich Juzwiak talks about HIV/AIDS from a prospective not often heard. I would say it resonated with me, and was my main inspiration and the source where I derived the concept for the title of this project-