Qcc has made a commitment to respresent Art about AIDS and to keep alive the history of this pivitol era in our struggle.

Gallery 4 features an array of appoaches that artists have chosen in confronting issues of life, death, and the politics of AIDS.

Acting Up for Prisoners, video
by Mic Sweney & Eric Slade ,
1992, 27 mins.

Frontera, the California Institution for Women, is the home for all women prisoners in California known to have HIV. However, Frontera is not a medical facility designed to care for these women--it is a prison with an isolated wing designed to segregate them. Acting Up for Prisoners follows ACT-UP's highly successful campaign to bring adequate health care and human rights to women prisoners with HIV. Featuring footage from powerful ACT-UP demonstrations, compiled media coverage and interviews with activists, including former Frontera inmate Mary Lucey.

AIDS Graphics & Gran Fury

The AIDS activist graphics reproduced here represent an array of educational and organizing tools and propaganda which emerged from a movement spearheaded by ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, "a diverse, nonpartisan group united to anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis." ACT UP New York was founded in March of 1987 and within less than five years had broadened to include dozens more ACT UP and activist organizations around the globe. The illustrations included here reflect the works produced mainly as a result of the struggles led by ACT UP New York, however, they appeared and found use on a national scene. Wherever there exist AIDS activists there are AIDS graphics. The movement has witnessed a long emphatic history, never static but constantly growing and evolving.

This program, took place at Mills College, Oakland, California on February 16, 2005. It was organized by: Moira Roth, Trefethen Professor of Art History, Mills College; Rudy Lemcke, artist and director of on-line programs for the Queer Cultural Center; and Stephan Jost, curator of the Mills College Museum, Oakland, California.

The program focused on the current issues of AIDS and Activism and the role of women in the on-going struggle of AIDS pandemic.

Inside Out: Voices from Home (June 1990)
San Francisco Art Institute

This exhibition, planned to coincide with the Sixth International AIDS Conference (San Francisco, California. 1990), and the AIDS Timeline (University Art Museum, U.C. Berkeley. 1989) were the first exhibitions of AIDS artwork to be presented by major art institutions on the West Coast. Unlike U.C. Berkeley's AIDS Timeline, Inside Out focused on Bay Area Artists and organizations. The theme "Voices from Home" reflected "the personal as the political" message of the exhibition.

The Inside Out exhibition asked "How do we represent AIDS?" It included fine artists, political activists, as well as organizations that struggled with the representation of AIDS for divergent populations. From elegant paintings to stenciled placards and quilts, this multi-layered exhibition mirrored the complexity of issues surrounding the AIDS crisis in 1990.

World AIDS Day December 1, 1999
Qcc presents: A Virtual Tour of The AIDS Memorial Grove

"The National AIDS Memorial Grove (NAMG) was conceived in 1989 by a small group of San Francisco residents representing a community devastated by the AIDS epidemic, but with no positive way to express their collective grief. As news of the Grove initiative grew, so did support and interest. What they envisioned was a serene place where people would come in groups to hold memorial services or individually to remember among the rhododendrons and redwoods, in a place dedicated to all lives touched by AIDS." --NAMG website

To learn more about the Grove visit their website at:

The gallery below features a few of the more well known artists who have died of AIDS. It begs the question of how many other artists' work will never be seen or created because of this tragedy.

David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992)

A passionate writer, artist, activist, David Wojnarowicz infused his life and work with the passion and rage that was the queer community of the late 80's and early 90's.

"...and I wake up every morning in this killing machine called america and I'm carrying this rage like a blood filled egg and there’s a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I'm waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping amazonian blowdarts in 'infected blood' and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastikas that wear religious garments over their murerous intentions or those rabid strangers parading against AIDS clinics in the nightly news suburbs---there's a thin line a very thin line between the inside and the outside and I've been looking all my life..." --David Wojnarowicz (an excerpt from a reading)


A true superstar, Sylvester represented the black and gay cultural origins of disco to mainstream America. His body of work includes crucial contributions to the disco songbook, but his ballads proved he was a versatile stylist who brought a realness and depth to all material.

Think: "You make me feel (mighty real)"

Queer Mysteries(Exhibition date: 1993)
by David Cannon Dashiell
San Francisco Art Institute

Before his death in 1993, David Cannon Dashiell produced one of the most dramatic queer works of the 90s. Queer Mysteries, is a large-scale mural that mutates the imagery of the Dionysian murals at the Villa of the Mysteries of Pompeii into a contemporary artistic and social statement. The installation was first exhibited at the Walter/McBean Gallery of the San Francisco Art Institute. Queer Mysteries was later installed at the SFMOMA in 1998 and is now a part of their permanent collection.

Jerome Caja (1958-1995)

"In Jerome's Painings --in his transvestite Venuses and Bozos, his wicked and iconic familial portraits, his eccentric animals--we find the guilelessness and irony of the Pompeian fresco mixed with the garishness and decadent veneer of makeups--powders, rouges, lipsticks, literally applied to the canvas. Jerome's creatures are often ridiculous; they seem to defy our expectations of encountering the sublime in art. Yet somehow, in the midst of these nightmarish scenarios of humiliation, of the quixotic, we sense their absolute, if defeated, human struggle for self-definition." --Thomas Avena, After the Pageant.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix Gonzales-Torres was a not-so-secret agent, able to infiltrate main stream consciousness in a most beautiful and poetic way. Activist without being didactic, a catalyst of that rare combination of sensuality and political empathy, he raised the bar on future queer art making, and continues to be one of the most influential artists of his generation.

He used the stuff of interior design--electric light fixtures, jigsaw puzzles, paired mirrors, wall clocks and beaded curtains--to queer exhibition spaces in the most simple and poignant ways.

Keith Haring Outdoor Sculptures in San Francisco
(Exhibition date:1998)

From May to September 1998, ten monumental sculptures by American artist Keith Haring were exhibited in various public locations around San Francisco. Tens of thousands of San Franciscans and tourists enjoyed these colorful sculptures. The large, bright images of barking and dancing dogs, human figures in gymnastic tumbles, and semi-abstracted forms that play with human and animal forms, are all immediately recognizable figures from Keith Haring's vital and energetic iconography. Qcc is pleased to present a virtual tour of this exhibition.

Derek Jarman (1942-1994)

Leading avant-garde British filmmaker whose visually opulent and stylistically adventurous body of work stands in defiant opposition to the established literary and theatrical traditions of his sometimes staid national cinema.

Another side of Derek Jarman is seen in his elegant and emotional paintings which can be seen in Gallery 2.

Imaging Sadomasochism:
Robert Mapplethorpe and the Masquerade of Photography
by Richard Meyer

Mapplethorpe's work functions on many levels and raises a variety of questions regarding the lexicon of the classic male nude and its ties to sexuality, the role and construction of gender and sexuality in society, the role of form and content in traditional and contemporary art, the communicative aspect of imagery, and censorship issues regarding museum space, tax dollars, and, in a general sense, all imagery.

Read Richard Meyer's essay on S/M and its relation to photography in the work of Robert Mapplethorpe.

Peter Hujar

Peter Hujar turned his camera on fellow nightcrawlers who inhabited the East Village art scene of the late 70s and 80s. His most famous photograph is possibly, "Candy Darling on Her Deathbed". His now infamous book, titled "Portraits in Life and Death" (1976), chronicles his life and vision. Peter Hujar was a long term partner of artist David Wojnarowicz, who died with AIDS in 1992. Hujar died of AIDS complications in 1987.

Marlon T. Riggs (1957-94)

Marlon Riggs was a producer, director, and writer, who graduated with honors from Harvard in 1978, and received his MA from UC Berkeley, where he later taught Documentary Film in the Graduate School of Journalism. His films include Tongues Untied, the acclaimed account of Black gay male life; and Ethnic Notions, for which he was awarded an Emmy. Marlon's work has been published in the anthology Brother to Brother, as well as in arts and literary magazines, including High Performance, Black American Literature Forum, and Art Journal. A media activist, he testified before the U.S. Senate, and wrote extensively on the issue of censorship. Marlon was also on the policy committee of PBS, and served on various other panels, including the National Endowment for the Arts.