Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution Spotlights Queer Activist Group ACT UP for Episode Five of Podcast Series: Articulated: Dispatches from the Archives of American Art  Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify

By the Archives
October 28, 2021


Articulated podcast cover art


The Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, is pleased to launch episode five of Articulated: Dispatches from the Archives of American Art, highlighting the voices and stories of artists who participated in the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, otherwise known at ACT UP, a grassroots group formed in 1987 to fight AIDS.

Episode five, The AIDS Crisis and Queer Activism, traces the rise and impact of ACT UP from the late 1980s within the manifold activist scene in the United States. The episode recaps the history of the AIDS crisis and its shock in the arts, examining ACT UP as a leader on the front lines and how the group built on, with, and for other activist collectives.

The new episode feature guest interviews and oral histories with notable activists, academics, artists, curators, historians, and writers including, Sarah Schulman, Pamela Sneed, Kate Eichhorn, Lumi Tan, Ted Kerr, Julie Ault, Douglas Crimp, Frederick Weston, Sur Rodney, AA Bronson, Lia Gangitano, Lyle Ashton Harris, Julie Tolentino, and Robert Vasquez-Pacheco.

"During the peak of the AIDS crisis, artists and activists worked against corrosive prejudice to forge communal bonds, laying the foundation for future joy through solidarity. The ongoing pandemic has reminded us of our bodies' fragility and the impossibility of mourning statistics, and it is a tremendous privilege to keep these voices and spirits alive through the Archives." —Ben Gillespie, oral historian, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Launched in August 2021, Articulated showcases the Archives of American Art’s oral history collection, one of the oldest, largest, and most respected in the world. Co-produced by Ben Gillespie, the Arlene and Robert Kogod Secretarial Scholar for Oral History, and Michelle Herman, Head of Digital Experience, the series features firsthand accounts from artists, dealers, writers, and other key figures whose expansive and often surprising memories challenge us to see the world in new and unimagined ways.

Episode 5 is co-hosted by Nora Daniels, Advancement Associate at the Archives of American Art, and Thomas Edwards, Assistant to the Director and Deputy Director, and celebrates the individuals and organizations who made visible the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community throughout the late 20th century, and particularly during the peak of the AIDS crisis.

The Archives of American Art is proud to continue to facilitate, promote, and provide access to the largest collection of oral histories associated with the visual arts in America. This podcast series provides broader access to these more than 2,500 interviews for further study by scholars, students, and anyone interested in learning about art in the United States.

Articulated: Dispatches from the Archives of American Art is supported by the Alice L. Walton Foundation.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Schedule of Upcoming Episodes:

November 23, 2021: Episodes 6 and 7

December 23, 2021: Episodes 8 and 9