For those of us with the good fortune to have a place to hang our things, a closet is a magical container, a collection of materials, arranged by each of us that at a glance can reveal our values, desires, cares, and even our deepest secrets. Time itself is frozen inside a closet in contrasting meters and timelines, fragmented in things accumulated and arranged in juxtaposed order, stacked and aligned, quickly thrown or casually dropped there to be taken care of later. The scene is set, and the narratives that blossom come alive whenever the doors swing open, giving us a reading, a reminder, an understanding of who we are, where we have been, secrets, and dreams we hold. Boxes concealing our heart’s contours, scribbled messages scratched on folded notes and cards, photos, records, files, all the stuff worth saving for the reason that each thing signifies, all these choices contained in the holding space, the closet.
Craig’s closet is a newly created artwork by Jim Hodges. On view beginning June 9th, the sculpture was imagined explicitly for the New York City AIDS Memorial Park, which lies in the shadow of the former St. Vincent’s hospital and in proximity to many sites central to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This exact replica of a domestic bedroom closet in granite and painted bronze, invites viewers to forge personal connections between complex histories and individual and collective memories.
About the artist ~ Jim Hodges was born in 1957 in Spokane, Washington. Hodges is an artist who addresses issues such as memory, love, and existential struggles through a multifaceted practice that includes photography, screen printing, and sculpture. His use of found materials like rocks and denim, coupled with the adoption of transitory shapes like spiderwebs, speaks of a personal experience that resonates on a collective level filtered through elements available in nature. Mysterious, beautiful, poetic, and conceptually deep, Hodges’s work has the rare quality of being simultaneously thought-provoking and visually beautiful. Major public installations by Hodges include ‘I dreamed a world and called it Love’, Grand Central Station, New York (2021), ‘Unearthed’ Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, (2019), and ‘With Liberty and Justice For All’ Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2015), and his works are included in prominent collections internationally, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Miami Art Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Guggenheim Museum, New York, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, Musee National, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
Jim Hodges: Craig’s closet is a continuation of the New York City AIDS Memorial’s public art program, which has included installations and events by Steven Evans, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Jenny Holzer, and others. The sculpture will be on view for one year beginning June 9, 2023, and is exhibited as a part of NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program.
New York City AIDS Memorial is located at St. Vincent’s Triangle, 76 Greenwich Avenue at the intersection of Seventh Avenue South between 11th/12th Streets.
See more of the artists work at Grand Central Station’s 42nd Street entrance for the #4,5,6,7,S trains – a gorgeous piece commissioned by MTA Arts & Design.
Check NYC AIDS Memorial site for additional events in June including:
Weavers of the Daisy Chain Gang Chorus: Ties That Bond: Peter Cramer and Jack Waters with NYOBS on June 10th at Noon (a free event).
Legends of Drag with Caracol de Cuba, Dina Jacobs, Egyptt LaBeija, Kelly Ray, Ruby Rims, and Simone; emceed by Linda Simpson followed by Dance for a Memorial II with sets by Oscar Nñ, DJ CHES, Nikki Jax, and more to be announced, on Wednesday, June 14th from 6-9pm (a free event).
Head Back, Eyes to Sky: Pamela Sneed, Mazz Swift, and Natalie Greffel on Thursday, June 29th at 6pm (a free event).
Founded as a grass-roots advocacy effort in early 2011, the New York City AIDS Memorial organization is now a 501(c)(3) corporation with an 18-person board.
The mission of the New York City AIDS Memorial is to honor the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died of AIDS and to acknowledge the contributions of caregivers and activists who mobilized to provide care for the ill, fight discrimination, lobby for medical research, and alter the drug approval process, ultimately changing the trajectory of the disease. The Memorial, dedicated on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2016, aims to inspire visitors to remember and reflect, and to empower current and future activists, health professionals, and people living with HIV in the continuing mission to end AIDS.
Today, the organization maintains the New York City AIDS Memorial as a highly-visible and architecturally significant landmark and a community space for reflection and the recognition of men, women, and children lost to, as well as long-term survivors of, HIV/AIDS; bears witness to the lessons of the epidemic through engagement and free, public community-centered educational, arts, and cultural programming at the Memorial site; and virtually extends the reach of the Memorial through digital content and interactivity. Previous programs have included Jenny Holzer’s #LightTheFight in 2018; the exhibition Visual Impact: On Art, AIDS, and Activism in 2019; the site-specific soundscape installation Hear Me: Voices of the Epidemic in 2020; and Steven Evans’ commissioned installation, Songs for a Memorial, in summer 2022.
The New York City AIDS Memorial’s 2023 programs are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
Leadership support for Jim Hodges’ Craig’s closet is provided by the Flag Art Foundation; Gladstone Gallery; and Jennifer and John Eagle, with major support provided by Ron Pizzuti; and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, and additional support provided by Anthony and Celeste Meier; Lisa and John Runyon; and Marguerite Hoffman. Craig’s closet is exhibited through NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program and is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Support for Legends of Drag and Dance for a Memorial II is provided, in part, by the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, Avenue 8, and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.