Albany-- Visitors to the Albany Museum of Art Wednesday might be surprised by what they see-- or rather by what they won't.
Paintings are coming down, "It is a bold step for the museum."
But, the blank walls have a purpose. Aaron Berger, the AMA Director, says "When the AIDS crisis first started in the 80's in New York, one of the largest communities it hit was the artists."
Artists-- and more than 20 million others since-- have died from HIV/AIDS. Judith Corbett, a Merck Manager, says "There has to be a loss of some kind and in this case the museum and Merck are speaking to the loss of art, because of artists and others who have suffered from HIV/AIDS."
Merck is sponsoring this "Day Without Art" at the Albany Museum. Only for one day, facts are taking the place of paintings. Berger says, "In researching we found the life expectancy in Zambia is 33 years, and for someone who is 33 years old that was completely mind blowing to me and it stuck in my heart and I figured if it stuck in mind it would give other people reason to pause as well."
That is what visitors are asked to do-- pause and read the facts about a disease promises to kill millions of more people. The writing is on the wall.
Wednesday is World Aids Day. The Museum is extending their hours for the exhibit, from ten in the morning to eight at night.