AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism, presented at the Museum of the City of New York from May to October 2017, aimed to complement and complicate popular narratives about the history of HIV/AIDS by examining how HIV/AIDS played out in the everyday lives of diverse communities in New York. The exhibition placed works of art alongside documentary photography, film, and archival materials in unique ways to ask visitors to rethink what counts as activism and to reconsider home as a crucial political space. This paper reflects on the ways the curator sought to activate the domestic archive—the everyday ephemera and affects of illness, caretaking, and family life.
Thank you to all of the artists and activists whose work was featured in AIDS at Home; the Museum of the City of New York, especially Sarah M. Henry, Donald Albrecht, Whitney Donhauser, Lilly Tuttle, Marissa Martonyi, Becky Laughner, Miranda Hambro, Todd Ludlam, Sarah Seidman, and Nate Lavey; Joanne Meyerowitz for giving me the opportunity to present an early version of this article for the Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities; David S. Byers, for reading earlier drafts of this article; Ted Kerr, Wanda Hernandez-Parks, and Kia LaBeija for their inspiring work; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, who supported my fellowship at the MCNY; and the Calamus Foundation and other funders of the exhibition. I also thank the editors and anonymous readers for their generous and insightful feedback.