Refresh ACTUP


In December 1989, a massive crowd of costumed protestors, including a Jesus Christ and an entourage of his furious friends, surrounded and invaded St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. One of many vibrant and aggressive protests, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power's (ACT UP) 'Stop the Church' action contested the Roman Catholic Archdiocese's public stand against AIDS education and condom distribution. Fourteen years later, veteran activists and artists have launched the ACT UP Oral History Project, a multiple-year venture, which aims to document the legacy of New York's AIDS activist movement. Founded by Super-8 filmmaker Jim Hubbard and writer Sarah Schulman, the Oral History Project includes in-depth video interviews with living activists, who explain both the successes and failures of the movement. At one of the most oppressively conservative and urgent contemporary political moments, ACT UP affected concrete change and transformed ingrained cultural attitudes about sexuality, illness, health care, civil rights, art, and media. The Oral History Project online includes video clips and PDF transcripts of activist interviews and documentation of the deployment of art in ACT UP efforts, in addition to a comprehensive topical and chronological index. - Matt Wolf