Artist aims to display Aids patient at gallery

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The Independent Online
DAVID LISTER

Arts Correspondent

A prostitute with Aids is set to be exhibited as a work of art.

Tony Kaye, the television commercials director and installation artist, who recently exhibited a homeless tramp at the Saatchi gallery, is advertising for a woman with the disease.

A spokesman said yesterday that the woman might well be a prostitute, but did not have to be. She will be paid a fee, to be negotiated, and be expected to stand in a gallery as part of an exhibition. She will be looked at and spoken to by visitors at the exhibition and thus "raise awareness about Aids and the plight of women living with Aids".

In the past Mr Kaye has had work at publicly funded galleries, including the Tate and the Hayward. A venue for "the Aids installation" has not yet been agreed.

A few weeks ago Mr Kaye had a tramp, Roger Powell, 46, seated at a desk at the Saatchi Gallery with a pounds 1,000 price tag on him. Mr Powell will now be touring America as an exhibit. Mr Kaye, who directs television commercials for BT and Volvo, and directed the gay Guinness commercial, was in New York yesterday to arrange exhibitions of Mr Powell.

Exhibiting a live Aids victim is likely to prove even more controversial. Mr Kaye's assistant, Darren Statman, who is helping to set up the exhibition, said yesterday: "This is being done with the utmost possible respect. The idea is to highlight the plight of women with Aids.

"I'm speaking to various Aids trusts and the London Lighthouse as well as putting ads in the papers. The woman will tour a number of art galleries and act as a spokeswoman for the issue. She will be standing in the gallery, a living exhibit."

When Mr Powell was exhibited, homelessness charities condemned the exercise as "humiliating and undignified".

But Mr Statman said the woman would be exhibited "with total respect". "There is tremendous interest in Tony Kaye's work and this is a very good way of making people become more aware of what it is like for women to live with Aids."

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