Passport 2001

September, 2001
American Express and Macy’s commissioned a monumental installation for a fundraiser held yearly in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I developed nine ‘Panels of Hope’, representing survivors, caregivers, and youth involved in the battle against AIDS.

Simo Neri is a photographer who likes to work big. Or at least tall. Indeed she has been working with an original technique the past four years that allows her to print multiple images in one continuous photographic print that is hung from a gallery’s ceiling. “If I combine numerous strips, I can go as high and wide as I want to go,” she says. “It offers me a nice scale with which to work.” Her nine 14-by-8-foot “Panels of Hope” were commissioned by American Express and Macy’s in time for this years’ Macy’s Passport events here Sept. 11-13, then at Passport events in Los Angeles Sept. 21-22. Neri says she worked with Macy’s personnel to devise the content of the strips, and settled on featuring people from agencies benefited by Passport. The subjects were broken into three categories: long-term survivors, caregivers, and youth. Neri says she liked working with “ordinary people” battling extreme circumstances. Her working title for the panels was “Everyday Warriors”, although the exhibit was officially titled “Panels of Hope”. Neri photographed her subjects in the United States in April, then completed the project in Paris in May and June. At their core, the panels feature multiple photographs of the subject. Those are surrounded by a multiple-photograph “frame” featuring elements of nature Neri says were intended to evoke both the categories and the people themselves… The Italian-born Neri lived at the San Francisco artists’ collective Project Artaud for 15 years during the height of the AIDS epidemic before moving to Paris 12 years ago. Neri says she hopes her work will touch people with a personal message that will reveal the beauty inherent in her subjects…

Photos show AIDS ‘everyday warriors’ : Dave Ford, San Francisco Chronicle, August 2001

Panels of Hope: an Introduction
Panels of Hope: Everyday Warriors. The subjects of the Panels see them for the first time...
September 11, 2001. This was to be the opening night for PASSPORT’s three-day fundraising event in San Francisco, until the tragic events in New York shook the very foundations of the whole program, threatening a general shutdown and cancellation. After much soul-searching, the organizers of the event decided to maintain the program’s dates. The following is a short excerpt of the speech I gave on that occasion.
Artist Simo Neri and AmEx's Susan Griffin-Guisto at Macy's/American Express Passport '01 at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, Ca. 9/22/01. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
Passport 2001 catalogue cover
Passport 2001 poster
five of the nine panels were initially installed at Belcher Gallery for a special American Express evening
Stephanie R., survivor 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Maryanne A., caregiver 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Robert O., survivor 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Donald T., caregiver 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Stephanie Z., youth 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Paul E., survivor 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Alice G., caregiver 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Romeo L., youth 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in
Milo V., youth 2001

photographs mounted on canvas
98 in x 168 in

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