hiv art


HIV needs to be a part of the conversation when we talk about Mike Pence and ‘Hamilton’

After his speech to Pence, Brandon Victor Dixon asked the Hamilton audience to donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization that works with several social service providers that benefit people living with HIV and other chronic illnesses. It’s “red bucket” season on Broadway, in which several theaters are collecting funds for the organization. Friday night at Hamilton was part of their Fall 2016 fundraising drive. As patrons left the theatre, queues of people exiting out into the street donated to BF/ECA volunteers holding red buckets. No reports mentioned whether Pence donated to BC/EFA. He did not immediately respond to Mic’s request for comment.

The Hamilton cast is currently led by Javier Muñoz, an HIV-positive out gay Puerto Rican. Whether people know about his HIV status, his presence on the Hamilton stage serves as a loud reminder that 1.2 million HIV-positive Americans are part of the tapestry that Dixon described in his message to Pence. For queer men of color like Muñoz, the stakes in the fight against HIV are particularly high. Queer black and Latino men face staggering rates of infection and government opposition, or even neglect, will lead to the infection of thousands more.

While Donald Trump hasn’t laid out plans to help people with HIV or to combat more than 40,000 infections in the United States in 2015, his running mate has adopted an almost sinister opposition to HIV treatment and prevention. Pence was an architect to an entire HIV outbreak in his home state of Indiana by gutting funding to Planned Parenthood, which was the only available HIV testing site for much of the state’s southeast counties. After the outbreak, Pence declined to listen to public health experts and implemented a needle exchange program that lasted only 30 days.

Aside from his actions, Pence’s words also don’t bode well for those living with or at risk for HIV acquisition.

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Social poster assignment 💊✨ ~ PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and it’s the use of anti-HIV medication to keep HIV negative people from becoming infected. A single pill taken once daily is highly effective against HIV when taken every day. Today more than ever we need to show support for our poz brothers, sisters and non-binary peeps. I love you all my dudes 🌸

Keith Haring “Unfinished Painting” 1989

Of particular note is that this painting was deliberately left unfinished by the artist. A political commentary on the indifference with which the federal government was handling the AIDS epidemic at the time, the painting is left as unfinished as the countless lives that were taken by the disease.  Haring died months later at the age of 31.

He continues to be an iconic figure in the LGBTQ+ gay rights community and is remembered by many as a symbol of late 80s / early 90s Nickelodeon aesthetic.

Our biennial “Community Partner Art Show”… 

For over 10 years, MoMA’s Community Partnership program has collaborated with a small group of NYC-based non-profit organizations in order to explore new ways of accessing the Museum and our collection. Focusing on programming connected with HIV/AIDS service providers, homelessness initiatives, post-incarceration support groups, LGBTQ housing facilities, literacy programs, and more, our biennial “Community Partner Art Show” shares a selection of the artwork created in these collaborations with the public. The latest show is closing the morning of Thursday, December 1st, so swing by and see it if you can!

Email for more info. [Photo by Kaitlyn Stubbs]


“I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils”. These are words published nearly 25 years ago by American artist and prominent AIDS activist Zoe Leonard in her poem I Want A Dyke For President. In 2016, the poem – that aggressively questions the violent banality of our elected politicians – remains as relevant and striking as ever.


High resolution posters of two Indigenous Queers taken during the Long Walk/forced removal/ relocation of the Diné to an internment camp located near Bosque Redondo, New Mexico in 1866. As with all our posters, feel liberated to print out and wheatpaste at will!

The photograph shows two Diné Nádleehí (translation: “the one is changing”), which is the equivalent to Indigenous Queer identity in contemporary culture. It is accompanied by text that challenges Western perspectives on homosexuality by asking the viewer to imagine the pre-“history” of terms and issues that have become relevant to contemporary Queer culture. In this case, it inserts an Indigenous narrative prior to genocide, colonization, health epidemics, and forced assimilation to Western notions that include but are not limited to gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, same-sex marriage, queer history, and romanticization of nature and masculinity/male identity.

Survivance &



As some of you know, I taught an lgbtq class last year and decided to share one of the lesson plans I created. It’s about AIDS, specifically Act-Up and direct action. It then ties in current queer artists and has students study and question contemporary art.

I noticed that the students had little to no knowledge of AIDS history. I wonder if it’s taught at all in schools. This isn’t totally comprehensive, but aimed to be interesting and engaging.  I’m hoping that other teachers can use this lesson plan as a jumping off point or adjust it to fit their classrooms needs. This lesson is meant to work with a projector and is aimed to be about an hour long, students 15+. 

I’m sure there are some important facts that are left out/glazed over/possibly wrong. It’s an editable PDF/Google Doc so people can fix mistakes where they see them. 
Here is the Lesson Plan. Here is the PDF

On World AIDS Day, we remember artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who died from the disease in 1996, and all those we’ve lost. This evocative photograph Gonzalez-Torres took of his own bed is especially poignant given the loss of his partner, Ross Laycock, in the year he produced the work. 

[Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Untitled. 1991. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, New York. Photo by David Allison]
A generation of artists were wiped out by Aids and we barely talk about it
A new film about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is a shocking and brilliant reminder of the devastation HIV and Aids wreaked – and still does
By Suzanne Moore

Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Untitled, 1991

Billboard; dimensions vary with installation.

“Between February 20 and March 18, Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s “Untitled” (1991) peppered the New York skyline, on six billboards throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. With locations ranging from 10th Avenue near the Javits Center to the far corners of Brighton Beach, the work reached diverse populations and altered the associated media landscapes. The provocative yet ambiguous image on each—an enlarged black-and-white photograph of the artist’s recently shared double bed—stood out amid the text-heavy advertising signage that dominates the city. Devoid of the text, logos, or captions typically associated with billboards, this work summoned a second look or even a momentary pause, the introspective quality of the image bringing a perceptible stillness to the surrounding bustle of the city.

…Throughout his work, Gonzalez-Torres (American, born Cuba. 1957–1996) questioned the notion of the unique art object, making series of works based on identical pairs (two clocks ticking side-by-side, two mirrors embedded in a wall) or finding inspiration in the possibilities of endless reproducibility (stacks of sheets as give-aways for visitors, piles of candy to be continually replenished). He wanted his work to be disseminated, to exist in multiple places at the same time, and to be realized completely only through the participation of the viewer, which he described as “one enormous collaboration with the public,” in which the “pieces just disperse themselves like a virus that goes to many different places—homes, studios, shops, bathrooms, whatever.” Reproducibility, collaboration, and circulation—sound familiar? His particular approach, which has been enormously influential for contemporary artistic practice, also made Gonzalez-Torres an essential presence…

For Gonzalez-Torres, art was an effective means of addressing social concerns—even more so when it could be multiplied. Inhabiting the familiar forms of Minimalism and post-Minimalism with his stacks and floor pieces, the artist embedded subtle but insistent references to current issues, from political violence to gay rights. In billboard projects like “Untitled”, the artist played with the powerful juxtapositions that could be generated between private and public spaces. By choosing this photograph of his bed, the artist exposed this most intimate of spaces, emphasized by the rumpled sheets and the recent impressions of two heads in the pillows. In the early 1990s, with controversies surrounding homosexuality and the AIDS crisis simultaneously wreaking havoc across the gay community, the bed also represented a site of conflict, symbolizing both love and death. That Gonzalez-Torres’s partner, Ross, died of AIDS in 1991 brings an intensely personal note to this work, but does not diminish it of its universal associations with comfort, intimacy, loneliness, or loss.

Every time I passed by my “local” billboard, on Queens Boulevard and Van Dam Street, I stopped to take it in again. It is a commanding work, even capable of overshadowing the roar of the elevated 7 train and the honking cars exiting the Long Island Expressway (not an easy task!). The presentation in Print/Out marks the 20th anniversary of the first realization of “Untitled”, for MoMA’s Projects 34: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, organized by Anne Umland in 1992. Imagining the future reception of this work, Umland presciently wrote in that exhibition’s accompanying brochure, “A photograph promises the possibility of replication, of reemergence in a different time and under different historical circumstances, a moment when this poignant image of ‘a dwelling in the evening air’ may come to mean very different things.” I look forward to seeing the next iteration!”

-Kim Conaty

Today’s Black Futures Month poster was created by Edward Rhea Hemphill, and uplifts our HIV/AIDS community. Find him at

The accompanying article by Martez Smith can be found here:

#BlackFutureMonth #BlackLivesMatter #VisionsOfABlackFuture