It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful: How AIDS Activists Used Art To Fight a Pandemic

Hachette Audio. Apr. 2022. 14:09 hrs. ISBN 9781549166105. $26.98. HIST
In the late 1980s, the AIDs epidemic was annihilating queer people, intravenous drug users, and marginalized communities. One group, ACT-UP, was fighting misinformation about the disease and gave birth to the Gran Fury collective, which formed to fight against the systemic oppression that allowed AIDS to run rampant through the art community. Lowery looks into the art and activism that touched the lives of those who were affected by the pandemic. The author also investigates the ways in which those same methods have been used during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vikas Adam narrates this look at the AIDS pandemic with tenderness.
VERDICT Lowery’s interviews with the members of the collective provides a sweeping look at the movements that changed the way in which people view government inaction, greed, and the stigma surrounding AIDS. Adam conveys the emotions of the collective members, adding a singular depth to the account. Lowery provides a well-organized list of sources for listeners who wish to learn more.
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