"That’s how living in the AIDS crisis felt. Impossibly violent and cruel."
March 6, 2010 10:34 PM   Subscribe

Eileen Myles on ACT UP-New York in Artforum Myles' review of an ACT UP NY art retrospective at Harvard's Carpenter Center is a thoughtful essay in its own right. A more straight(?)-forward review of that exhibition from Frieze Magazine. And, for good measure, "The ACT UP Oral History Project is a collection of interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York." The Oral History Project is on special display at the Carpenter Center.
posted by liketitanic (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Great post, liketitanic.

New York Public Library's ACT UP digital gallery, part of their great LGBT collection (slightly more info in an old post of mine).
posted by Kattullus at 11:53 PM on March 6, 2010

impossibly violent and cruel? jesus!
posted by billybobtoo at 1:21 AM on March 7, 2010

The first demonstration i ever went to as a young wide-eyed ostensibly straight girl was an ACT UP Kiss-In in Chicago.

Could a wide-eyed girl open her eyes up wider? Because I did. I subsequently participated in ACT UP, Queer Nation, and the Women's Action Coalition--all radical arts-focused direct action groups.
posted by RedEmma at 7:16 AM on March 7, 2010

New York Public Library's ACT UP digital gallery

Wow, that link is amazing. The politics (that's the first time I've heard the name "John Sununu" in a while), the slogans, the distinctively late 80s-early 90s graphic design... fascinating bits of history.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:21 AM on March 7, 2010

Wow, that oral history link is great stuff.
posted by heatherann at 7:55 AM on March 7, 2010

In the third interview on the Oral History link (with Gregg Bordowitz), he says that the Reagan administration actually considered internment camps for people infected with HIV/AIDS, and even tattooing gay men and IV drug users against their will. Now, I of course know that the Reagan administration was indifferent to the point of hostility to the plight of AIDS sufferers, but ideas being floated to actually put them in camps is new to me. I don't disbelieve him, but is there more documentation on this?
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:27 AM on March 7, 2010

DecemberBoy, I looked into that this morning. Here's what I found.

In the American Spectator in 1987, Christopher Monckton wrote the following: "There is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life to halt transmission of the disease to those who are uninfected. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month to detect the presence of antibodies against the disease, and all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently." (The complete article is reproduced here.) He acknowledged his belief that the over 1.5 million Americans living with AIDS could be quarantined in this manner.

Now, bro worked for Thatcher, not Reagan--but only until 1986. So I'm not sure if/whether the Reagan administration picked up on this or whether Monckton worked for the admin in any capacity.
posted by liketitanic at 10:26 AM on March 7, 2010

William F. Buckley also supported tattooing of gay men's buttocks.

The first decade of AIDS felt like a battle without weapons, but a lospided casualty count. I was in ACTUP NY from 1988-1993, and sometimes think of all who did the protests and sit-ins and kiss-ins as veterans. It may not have been a war, but it was certainly hell for those who were lost in it.
posted by ltracey at 11:03 AM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

There was also a ballot initiative in California (funded by LaRouche) to quarantine people living with HIV/AIDS. Quarantine or internment camps are still floated by some-- Gov. Huckabee during his presidential campaign most recently (to my knowledge).

I was also in ACT UP and sure felt like a war at the time.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:36 PM on March 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Awesome. I was involved from 1991-1994ish. Unfortunately most of the people I knew are dead.
posted by desjardins at 5:12 AM on March 8, 2010

That old Kissing Doesn't Kill campaign still chokes me up.
posted by serazin at 1:19 PM on March 8, 2010

« Older RIP Mark Linkous   |   Some helpful sites Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments