Joshua James Herren

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20122013 Forum on Peripheries

Joshua James Herren

History; Art History

CAS, 2013

Furious Acts: AIDS and the Arts of Activism, 1980–1996

In "Furious Acts," I explore the different ways in which art and artistic production were used in AIDS activism between 1980 and 1996 by such artistic and activist organizations as ACT-UP, the Radical Faeries, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Gran Fury, the NAMES Project, and the Gay Men's Health Crisis. My project is organized thematically to understand how artistic practice influenced collective identity, safer sex education, and the role of mourning in AIDS activism. I also examine how different artistic media (video, photography, performance, craft) were used for unique purposes and audiences. Ultimately, I aim to show that the artistic practices of AIDS activism were far more than aesthetic and creative outlets; they were also vital forms of communication, education, and advocacy.