A Granite Replica of a Bedroom Closet Honors Personal and Collective Memories in New York City AIDS Memorial Park

Source Colossal  

“Craig’s closet” (2023), granite and bronze, 90 x 57 x 28 1/2 inches. Installed in New York City AIDS Memorial Park. Photos by Daniel Greer, © Jim Hodges, courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, shared with permission

In 1981, the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan began to see an influx of young gay and bisexual men with startling weight loss, pneumonia, rare infections, and compromised immunity. Two years later, the HIV virus was identified as the cause of AIDS, which quickly reached epidemic proportions, and St. Vincent’s opened the first—and largest—AIDS ward on the East Coast.

In 2016, a public park became the home to the New York City AIDS Memorial, honoring the more than 100,000 residents who died of the disease, as well as those who lobbied for medical research and access to drugs and fought discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. Marking a continuation of the memorial’s public art program, a new sculpture by Jim Hodges is both a heartfelt ode to a young New Yorker who succumbed to the illness and an invitation to consider complex histories and personal and collective memories.

“Craig’s closet,” a granite and bronze work that stands like a monolith in the middle of the park, considers the personal, metaphorical, and physical significance of the ubiquitous storage space. It is an exact replica of the bedroom closet belonging to musician Craig Ducote, who shared a home with Hodges until he passed away in 2016. T-shirts and jackets hang neatly next to a stack of drawers, a cane, various containers, and knick-knacks. While the piece references the artist’s personal relationship and memories, the simultaneous universality and specificity of a wardrobe, or objects accumulated over time, speaks to the shared experience of loss.

“Craigs closet” is on view through May 2024, and you can find more on Hodges’ website.


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