<div class="chapeau">THE 2017 PIERRE DAIX PRIZE WAS AWARDED TO <i>CE QUE LE SIDA M’A FAIT — ART ET ACTIVISME À LA FIN DU XXE SIÈCLE [WHAT AIDS DID TO ME: ART AND ACTIVISM IN THE LATE TWENTIETH
CENTURY]</i> BY ELISABETH LEBOVICI, PUBLISHED IN 2017 BY EDITIONS JRP | RINGIER, IN COLLABORATION WITH LA MAISON ROUGE — ANTOINE DE GALBERT FOUNDATION. THE JURY WANTED TO SALUTE THE
QUALITY OF THE HISTORICAL RESEARCH UNDERTAKEN BY THE AUTHOR, WHO PRESENTS A COMPLEX SUBJECT THROUGH AN ORIGINAL LENS, SPECIFICALLY REFERRING TO PATHS AND DISCIPLINES
THAT WERE PREVIOUSLY UNDEREXPLORED.</div>
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<span class="title">WINTER OF</span><br>
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<b>Laurence Bertrand Dorléac</b><br>
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Art historian, lecturer, member of the jury
<span class="alinea"></span>Some books are disturbing; Elisabeth Lebovici’s <i>What AIDS Did to Me</i> is one of those books that could prevent you from falling asleep. In order to discuss the art that was produced in reaction to AIDS, she
had to search extensively through her own memories, reacquainting herself with ghosts, rereading articles published at the time, to rediscover their meaning, their fight, their anger.
<span class="alinea"></span>She describes more broadly the forms, esthetics, and atmosphere of a world deeply affected by a disease that violently affected artists and writers: Hamad Butt, Ron Athey, Mark Morrisroe,
Rosa von Praunheim, Zoe Leonard, John Greyson, Félix González-Torres, Catherine Opie, Keith Haring, Lionel Soukaz, David Wojnarowicz, Michel Journiac, General Idea, Vidya Gastaldon, Philippe
Thomas, Nan Goldin, Group Material, Alain Buffard, among many others.
<span class="alinea"></span>By following this process, unearthing memories from her own past—she worked with Act Up-Paris at the time—she brings back to life the dead, whose youth was stolen from them by the disease. She reminds us that
those affected were treated as though they were stricken by a plague, relegated to the margins of society, often deprived of the treatments they needed, their humanity taken away from them,
as even their bodies vanished from the earth, since the law required their corpses to be incinerated.
<span class="alinea"></span>Lebovici makes this point: AIDS implies a crisis of representation. First, because everything private became public and political. The epidemic revealed not fears, cowardice, and selfishness,
but also the cynical greed of drug-manufacturers, and the dysfunction of disgraceful policies that went against triumphant American liberalism. “In New York, life itself is an illness,”
proclaimed a graffiti of the time.
This study of those former plague-stricken times evokes George Perec, especially the inventory “my closet,” full of medicine. This list is melancholic, like the book itself,
but it’s a hyperactive form of melancholy. Committed to exploring questions of identity, particularly sexual identity, Lebovici tries to provoke her reader: as evidence, see her blog “le beau
vice,” where she expresses herself even more freely than in her articles published in <i>Libération,</i> where she was a staff writer for many years.
<span class="alinea"></span>Each line of her book is an attempt to add a year to the lives of friends taken too soon. Through Lebovici’s work, an era and its crises are brought back to life.
<span class="alinea"></span>The 2017 Pierre Daix Prize was given this year to Lebovici’s work. It is a destabilizing but important, even vital, achievement.
<span class="alinea"></span> A critic and art historian, Elisabeth Lebovici studies feminism, questions of gender, queer politics, LGBT activism, and contemporary art, in her research, writing, and
teaching. She is the author, with Catherine Gonnard, of <i>Femmes/Artistes, Artistes/Femmes: Paris de 1880 à nos jours</i> (Paris: Hazan, 2007) and is the author of the blog lebeau-vice.blogspot.com.
She belongs to the research collective Travelling Féministe at the Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir and is the co-director, with Patricia Falguières and Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez,
of the seminar <i>Something You Should Know: Artists and Producers</i> at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She is a founding member of the LIG/Lesbiennes d’Intérêt Général fellowship fund.
Created in 2015 by François Pinault as a homage to his friend Pierre Daix, the prize, along with a grant of 10,000 euros, is awarded each year to a work of modern or contemporary
art history published during the previous year.<br>
For the 2017 edition of the prize, the jury was composed of:<br>
— Jean-Jacques Aillagon, former Minister of Culture, former director of the Centre Pompidou<br>
— Laurence Bertrand Dorleac, art historian, editor, scholar, director of the Laboratoire Arts & Société at Sciences-Po
— Jean-Marie Borzeix, former director of France Culture<br>
— Jean de Loisy, director of the Palais de Tokyo<br>
— Emmanuel Guigon, director of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona<br>
— Brigitte Leal, deputy director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou<br>
— Laurent Le Bon, director of the Musée National Picasso-Paris<br>
— Alain Minc, president of AM Conseil, essayist<br>
— Alfred Pacquement, former director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Pompidou<br>
— Marie-Karine Schaub, historian and professor (Université Paris-Est Créteil-Val de Marne)<br>