Visual AIDS and The Studio Museum in Harlem are thrilled to present a digital resource page featuring an interactive map of key AIDS-related sites in Harlem, excerpts from our oral history project, archival materials, and resources for additional research and exploration. Last Address Tribute Walk: Harlem will take place on Saturday, May 28, 2022.
This map features places of activism, belonging, care, leisure, and remembrance in Harlem during the AIDS epidemic, from the 1980s to the present. Gathered through conversations and research, these sites represent ballroom, nightlife, cruising spots, houses of worship, bars, clinics, performance, protest, and artists’ last addresses. They hold the memories of those who loved, lived, played, prayed and died within them. By pulling back layers of new construction, new ownership, new communities and residents, we discovered that sites viewed with present-day eyes illustrated an expansive, multigenerational family spread out across the neighborhood. In the spirit of non-linear histories, we’ve also included sites from beyond the traditionally recognized years of the AIDS epidemic to acknowledge the enduring presence and contribution of queer Black artists in Harlem.
Although the information here points to a specific time in Harlem’s past, it also captures a living history. In Harlem, balls still happen, AIDS housing and services are still offered, and many early AIDS organizations, such as Harlem United and Gay Men of African Descent, have since grown and expanded.
With the hope of gathering more first-hand recollections about key sites in Harlem, the Studio Museum and Visual AIDS performed several oral history interviews. Below you will find audio excerpts of these interviews. Scroll down further to learn more about the participants.
Initially proposed by poet, artist, and activist Pamela Sneed, the Last Address Tribute Walk: Harlem will honor sites, people, and histories of Harlem critical to understanding the artistic and creative aspects of the AIDS epidemic. In the summer of 2021, Visual AIDS and the Studio Museum gathered existing materials and community knowledge with the guidance of community members who are actively involved with HIV activism and documenting Black queer histories.
If you would like to contribute personal knowledge, please consider sharing it with us in our survey.
Visual AIDS’ annual Last Address Tribute Walk revisits the former home addresses of artists lost to AIDS, as well as locations shaped by HIV and AIDS activism and queer cultural history in New York City. Inspired by Ira Sachs’ film Last Address (2010) and conceived and led by curator and art historian Alex Fialho, past iterations of the Last Address Tribute Walk featured doorstep readings in the neighborhoods of the East Village (2014), Chelsea (2015), the Lower East Side (2016), the West Village (2017), the Meatpacking District (2018), and Times Square (2019).
|NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project||Interview with Darius Bost, author of Evidence of Being|
|One of the Children: Gay Black Men in Harlem|
|"Exploring Black LGBTQ Studies in the Schomburg Center's Archive"||"A History of Erasing Black Artists and Bodies from the AIDS Conversation"|
|Visual AIDS' Day With(out) Art 2017: ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS|
Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.
This program was made possible through a Building Capacity, Museum Association of New York (MANY) grant supported by an IMLS CARES Act grant. The Studio Museum in Harlem gratefully acknowledges the support of inHarlem donors including Citi and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation; digital programming is supported by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s Frankenthaler Digital Initiative and Art Bridges; the Museum also recognizes the generosity and knowledge of community members in realizing this project. Visual AIDS’ public programming is supported by the Lambent Foundation Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Marta Heflin Foundation, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and other foundations, corporations, and government entities.