ZoneModa Journal. Vol.13 n.1 (2023)
ISSN 2611-0563

Threads of Life, Love, & Loss: An HIV/AIDS Story. Exhibition by Denise N. Green, Michael Mamp and Brenda Marston. Cornell University, Human Ecology Building, August 15–December 2, 2022

Simona Segre-ReinachUniversità di Bologna (Italy)

Published: 2023-07-25

During my visit to Cornell University — where I had the pleasure of being invited by historian professor Peidong Sun to give a lecture on my research on Italian-Chinese joint ventures — I had the chance to see a very interesting exhibition entitled “Threads of Life, Love, & Loss: An HIV/AIDS Story”. The exhibition, held at the Human Ecology Building is the output of a collaboration between the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection and the Human Sexuality Collection that will be part of the Cornell University Library’s “Threads of History: Textiles at Cornell” exhibitions and the 2022 Cornell Biennial.

“Threads of Life, Love, & Loss: An HIV/AIDS Story” explores how dress, textiles, and archives can be activated in the struggle for health equity amidst on ongoing global health crisis that has lasted more than 40 years and robbed families, friends, and communities of upwards of 40 million lives. The curators focused on one story of many affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Mark Goldstaub (1951–1988), his partner Edmund Wojcik (1955–1995) and the many lives they touched, to show how cloth and creative expression have the transformative potential to raise awareness, record histories, memorialize, destigmatize, and make positive change in the world.  Garments, quilts, accessories, historical documents, photographs, music composed by Paul Goldstaub, and documentary films by Denise N. Green, one the curating team, are included in the display. 

The exhibition is curated by Denise N. Green (Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection, College of Human Ecology) Michael Mamp (Department of Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising, Louisiana State University) and Brenda Marston (Human Sexuality Collection, Cornell University Library). It is funded in part by the Laurie Conrad Music and Arts Fund of Community Foundation of Tompkins County, Cornell Council for the Arts, Department of Human Centered Design, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University Library, and the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection. 

Figure 1: Poster of the exhibition
Figura 2: Mark Goldstaub (1951–1988) and his partner Edmund Wojcik (1955–1995). Photo by Author