This is one of the images included in a spread from the book the AIDS activist project. This is before the shit hit the fan and AIDS really began wreaking havoc on the gay population.
I believe this ran in the newspaper, New York Native, I’ll have to get back to Fales Library and Collections to confirm that. I think we included a copy for the projects archives. It was also my first ever published photo. It was before I was out, but I guess this was a step in the direction of coming out. I can remember the editor saying, and I’m sure a lot of photographer and other artist have heard this, “We can’t pay for use of the image, but we will give you photo-credit”.
I remember being absolutely thrilled about the prospect of my image and name being published in a newspaper, in NEW YORK CITY!!! I was so excited. But a few years later, I realized that getting a photo credit in exchange for use of a photo didn’t pay the rent.
I often think about a world where AIDS never happened. I don’t know what this mean, what it would really change in my life. But having the people we lost here instead of in our memories would be beautiful.
AIDS came, it killed but we persevered. And maybe, in the years to come, we will find a way to eradicate the virus totally.
But, and i’ve had this talk with many fellow activists, being a part of ACT UP & AIDS activism, part of the fight, for treatments, education, and rights for People With AIDS was an amazing experience. Though it’s an experience I would gratefully give up in exchange for having our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and lovers back here with us.
But we fought for a good reason, and we succeeded in many ways. Though it doesn’t bring back the ones we lost, it was an amazing experience and I am grateful for the opportunity to fight alongside so many brave, beautiful people.
I attended the Opening Exhibit of “positive/negative: HIV/AIDS” last night at New York University.Seeing work from “the AIDS activist project” included with other artists, such as David Wojnarowicz and Hunter Reynolds, whose work influenced me so much, and who I respect as artists was humbling.
Among the works were video clips showing the “Day of Desperation”, when ACT UP took over Grand Central Terminal in NYC. This was the ultimate flash mob. The entire terminal was turned into an ACT UP action. Seeing that power again; going back to the days when people were literally fighting for their lives is incredible.
The exhibit will be on display and open to the public from October 12, 2015 through January 15, 2016. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Work from “the AIDS activist project” will be included in the new exhibition at Fales Library. The opening will be this Friday, October 9th at NYU’s Fales Library, 70 Washington Square South, 3rd floor.
Following is the exhibition descrition:
Culled from the archives of the Fales Library, positive/negative: HIV/AIDS examines both the compassionate and the callous responses to the AIDS epidemic (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in America during the 1980s and 1990s, with specific relation to politics, education, faith, and the arts.
“Quite correctly, much historic record has emphasized the negative reactions that permeated the early years of AIDS,” said curator Brent Phillips, Fales media archivist. “However, through all the malice and death, scores of citizens banded together in a profound, positive manner.”
positive/negative: HIV/AIDS primarily features items from the Fales Downtown Collection, including archival documents, correspondence, photographs, posters, clothing, art works, literature, and rare audiovisual material that cover both the emergence of and reception to AIDS. Also on view: Patina Du Prey’s Memorial Dress by Hunter Reynolds, unrealized art conceptions by artist David Wojnarowicz, and selections from Bill Bytsura’s ACT-UP photograph collection.
“Fales did not intentionally set out to document this epidemic,” said Phillips. “But unquestionably the impact of AIDS proved devastating for the New York downtown arts scene in the 1980s and 1990s. The numerous archives that make up the Fales Downtown Collection reflect this violent disruption of imagination, the overwhelming loss, and also the nearly unprecedented humanitarian achievement AIDS motivated in New York – and throughout the country.“