The 9th annual Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards recognizes those who have made a profound impact on the ongoing response to HIV/AIDS through art, culture and service. This year Visual AIDS is proud to honor Dr. Brian Saltzman, an infectious disease doctor who specializes in internal medicine. He has been a leader in HIV treatment and AIDS research in New York City since the early 1980's. His research has included some of the earliest data showing the lack of HIV transmission by close casual contact, and survival differences in AIDS patients. Saltzman is also a patron of the arts and restaurant entrepreneur. He and his partner Michael Weinstein run the acclaimed Robert restaurant at the Museum of Art and Design. In the interview below, Patrick Webb, a painter, curator and educator who has long been a patent of Saltzman, shares how they met, what Saltzman has taught him, and what it means to still be painting, working and living.

Visual AIDS: When did you first meet Dr. Brian Saltzman?
Patrick Webb: I met Brian Saltzman in the early 1990s when I was looking for a doctor to follow my HIV infection. I recently lost my long time boyfriend to the disease and at the time discovered I had also sero converted. Because I was a self employed artist I had terrible insurance and had first tried in network providers who were overworked taciturn and unpleasant. When I went to Brian he was so sweet and understanding. He is the only doctor I know who ever called my labs fabulous. He was also much more thorough in his analysis of my situation. This was before the new meds so I was leery of everything. I kept seeing Brian as my primary physician since then with some gaps due to insurance problems.

Visual AIDS: What is one thing you have learned from Dr. Saltzman?
PW: I have learned from Brian to take things in stride, to take pleasure in the things you can.

Visual AIDS: As an artist, educator and curator you have been involved in HIV/AIDS for a long time, as has Dr. Saltzman as a doctor. For you, what is the key to staying healthy and engaged long term?
PW: My work as a painter and my husband are everything. I am a tenured professor at PRATT where I teach first year drawing, color, and 2 dimensional design which I enjoy and believe benefits my students in many disciplines. But academia like much of the world is so ugly now. My studio and home are my refuge. Through my relationship with my husband and my time in the studio I can make sense out of things and fulfill whatever capacities I have. Bluntly I am surprised to be nearing 60.

To learn more about VAVA, including who else is being honored, how to purchase a ticket, or make a donation, visit the Visual AIDS Vanguard Award webpage.

Patrick Webb has been painting for almost 40 years and continues to love the problems of form and expression that painting offers. He use digital tools in recording, arranging, and considering his work it is in the mind made world -- the proprioceptive experience of smearing, spreading, layering and scraping of paint that he finds himself. Bid on work by Patrick Webb for the
VAVA Art Auction

Patrick Webb