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Matthew Frieman-Outbreak Epidemics in a Connected World Training

National Museum of Natural History
Volunteer Facilitator training for Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World

Kendra Chittenden-Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World Training

National Museum of Natural History
Volunteer facilitator training video for Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World

John T Brooks-Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World Training

National Museum of Natural History
Volunteer Facilitator training for Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World

Lindsey Shields-Outbreak Epidemics in a Connected World Training

National Museum of Natural History
Volunteer Facilitator training for Outbreak:Epidemics in a Connected World

Anthony Fauci Is Waging War Against Zika, and Preparing for Other Epidemics to Come

Smithsonian Magazine

It is one thing to know the science of epidemics—why they start, how they spread, who’s at risk. But to truly understand a disease’s impact, Anthony Fauci believes you need to see its victims. And so, last year, when a health care worker who had contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone was being treated at the National Institutes of Health, Fauci often broke from his busy schedule and donned a bulky protective suit so he could personally examine the patient.

That’s all part of the job for Fauci, who has been America’s point person in confronting epidemics and other public health crises for decades.

As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, he is the person who oversees the government’s research into outbreaks of infectious diseases, most recently the Zika virus and Ebola. He has been a leader in the fight again AIDS and HIV, and he also is one of America’s top advisors on bioterrorism. Among his numerous awards is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be given to a citizen by the president of the United States. contributor Randy Rieland interviewed Fauci in advance of his appearance at Smithsonian magazine’s "Future Is Here" festival this weekend. He discussed the spread of the Zika virus, its unexpected consequences and how to prevent catastrophic epidemics in the modern world.

When do you think clinical trials for a Zika virus vaccine can begin?

I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to start phase one trials—at least to ask “Is it safe, and does it induce the kind of response you would predict might be protective?”—in September. But that’s just the first phase in a number of phases you need to go through in order to develop vaccines.

So when do you think a vaccine could be available?

It really is impossible to predict, because to be available it has to be shown to be effective. What will happen in early 2017 is that we likely will go into expanded efficacy trials, and if the vaccine is very effective, you’ll find that out sooner than later. The second factor is how many infections are occurring in the community. If there are a lot of infections, then the vaccine trial moves expeditiously and you can get an answer within a year. If the infections slow down, then it may take a few years to get an answer. Once you get an answer, you have to submit the data to the FDA for them to determine whether you can make it available to the public. It’s very difficult to put a time frame on it.

"It's a very serious situation," says Fauci, of the spread of Zika. (Flavio Forner/Xibe Images/Corbis)

At one point, you were quoted as saying about Zika, “The more we know about this, the worse things seem to get.”  What has been the most unsettling aspect of the spread of this virus?

The thing that has been most unsettling is the degree and frequency of the congenital abnormalities that we are seeing in women who are infected with Zika during pregnancy. Generally, these abnormalities have occurred when women are infected in the first trimester of their pregnancies. But now we’re finding that there are even deleterious effects on the fetus when the woman is infected during the second and even the third trimester. So that’s very disturbing that the vulnerability essentially lasts throughout the entire pregnancy.

The second thing is the high percentage of women who, when they are infected during pregnancy, are showing abnormalities in their fetus. We don’t know exactly what that number is, but the most accurate studies so far show that it’s at least 29 percent with gross abnormalities—there’s a much higher percentage of subtle abnormalities that you don’t notice until the baby is born and has difficulty at developmental landmarks, such as with hearing, with seeing, with intellectual capabilities.

So, it doesn’t look very good from the standpoint of the percentage of women who do get abnormalities with the fetus. That makes it more compelling for us to protect pregnant women and keep them away from the regions of the world where there is Zika, and if they live there, try and protect them as best as we can by mosquito control. It’s a very serious situation.

What do you think is the most critical information that people should know?

I get asked all the time by women who are pregnant, or thinking about getting pregnant, whether I’m sure they shouldn’t be going down to Brazil or other regions where Zika has spread. Absolutely, I’m sure. If you are pregnant or might be pregnant or are thinking about getting pregnant, you should not travel to a region where there’s a considerable degree of Zika. Also, if you’re a male and you go and travel to that region, and even if you don’t think you got infected—many of the infections are without symptoms—and you come back here to the United States, and you have a pregnant wife or a pregnant girlfriend, you need to make sure you use a condom consistently throughout the entire pregnancy. If you have a pregnant partner, you should make sure that at least for a period of eight weeks that you do not have unprotected sex.

Do you think the notion that there may have been an overreaction to the threat of the Ebola virus has affected how people have responded to the Zika outbreak?

No, I think the response has been appropriate. I certainly think the press has handled it really well. They’re covering it in an intellectually sound way. They’re not panicking. They’re reporting the truth—there is a real problem in South America, the Caribbean and Central America. We will almost certainly get a small degree of local outbreaks here in the United States. Hopefully, we’ll be able to contain them the same way we were able to contain local outbreaks of dengue fever and chikungunya in Florida and Texas. The real critical issue is how well we respond to that and prevent it from becoming a sustained outbreak.

Fauci speaks at a news conference in Maryland on October 24, 2014. Nina Pham (in black suit), who contracted Ebola while caring for a patient from Liberia, was released from the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center. (Bao Dandan/Xinhua Press/Corbis)

It’s generally acknowledged that air travel has made controlling epidemics in the modern world more difficult. What else makes fighting epidemics more challenging today?

One of the things you have to do is recognize them as early as you possibly can so you can respond to them effectively. The United States has been an important part of that in setting a global health security agenda—to have communication and surveillance throughout the world, so if you do have an outbreak, you are able to recognize it and respond as early as you possibly can. We have been on top of things in regard to Zika because Brazil has a pretty good health care system and they were able to detect this early on. That was not the case in West Africa with Ebola. The first cases occurred in December of 2013, but it wasn’t until well into 2014 that anyone realized that there was a serious problem. So having good dissemination of information is one of the best things we can do to respond to these kinds of outbreaks. 

Why do mosquito-borne illnesses tend to occur in waves?

Many of them are seasonal, and mosquitoes bite so widely that they infect a certain percentage of the population—almost all the vulnerable ones—and then it dies down for a bit until there’s a new cohort of susceptible people. So, it’s a combination of variations in weather and the climate depending on where you are.  Even countries that are near the equator have seasons that are more or less amenable to mosquitoes. In Brazil right now, it’s just the end of their summer and they had a lot of mosquitoes during this past summer. But we hope, because of the Olympics in Brazil later this year, that by the time we get to our summer and their winter, the mosquito population will be lower there.

Can people, once they’re bitten, build up immunity to Zika?

We are not sure. But if Zika acts like dengue and West Nile virus acts, when you do get infected, you build up a certain amount of immunity that would likely protect you against a subsequent infection if you’re dealing with the same strain of Zika. Right now, it does not look like there are multiple strains of Zika. What we’re seeing in South America, the Caribbean and Central America is very closely related to the Asian strain from where we think it came. We believe the Zika came across the Pacific from Southeast Asia to Micronesia, French Polynesia and then South America.

How high would you say is the risk of Zika spreading in the southern U.S. this summer?

I think it is likely we’ll have a local outbreak, but I also think we’ll be able to contain it. I do not think that it’s possible to predict whether we’ll have a sustained outbreak. How long it will last and how broad it will be, we don’t know.

What were the most valuable lessons learned from dealing with the Ebola outbreak? Has that helped in dealing with the Zika epidemic?

They’re really too different. If there was a lesson, it was the importance of having a coordinated response and good communications between different elements of the response. We were not that successful with Ebola. The World Health Organization failed rather terribly with the Ebola outbreak. They admitted it.  But we’re not seeing that with Zika. There seems to be much better coordination among health organizations with this disease.

What do you think is the greatest challenge that still exists in dealing with HIV and AIDS?

The challenge is the implementation of the advances we’ve already made. We now have excellent treatments and excellent capabilities at preventing infection. So we really have more of an implementation gap than we have a science gap. Certain parts of the country and the world are implementing programs very well, and we’re seeing a dramatic decrease in infection and death. In the United States, for example, there is a very robust program in San Francisco to aggressively seek out people, test them, get them into care, and keep them in care so that they save their own lives and don’t infect others. There are certain countries that are doing better than others. Rwanda, in Africa, is doing much better than other countries there. The implementation gap is really the big challenge.

But there are still some scientific challenges. We are trying very hard to get a good vaccine. We don’t have it yet. If and when we do get a good vaccine, it could play a major role in turning around the trajectory of the epidemic.

Given that, do you think there will be a day when we’ll be able to eliminate those diseases?

I think we’ll be able to control them much better than we can now. I think it’s too much to ask for to think that we can completely eradicate HIV. But we’d like to have control of HIV like we now do with many other infectious diseases.

What lessons have you learned from the recent epidemics that we’ve seen?

It’s the same lesson over and over again. You’ve got to be prepared. You have to have good surveillance. You have to have good diagnostics. And you have to be able to move quickly.  And we’ve shown that when you do that, you get good results.

That’s the lesson.

Smithsonian magazine's "Future is Here" festival will be held April 22-24, 2016, at Shakespeare Theatre's Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, D.C. Exhilarating and visionary, the event will provide an eye-opening look into the near and far future, where science meets science fiction.

What “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Tells Us About Contagion, Fear and Epidemics

Smithsonian Magazine

A mysterious plague with no known cause. An indiscriminate infection that holds a community captive. Sound familiar? It did to Washington Irving, too. Irving, a native New Yorker, made his first trip up the Hudson River to Tarrytown in 1798, at age 15.

At that time, New York City was in the grip of its tenth epidemic of yellow fever, a viral disease that killed 5,000 residents of Philadelphia in a single year and was on track to do as much cumulative damage in New York. Yellow fever, which is spread by mosquitoes, was poorly understood at the turn of the 19th century. Medical professionals speculated that it was caused by slum conditions in city centers (including landfill and stagnant water—this was closest to the mark). They blamed West Indian refugees and shipments of rotten coffee. They even pointed the finger at the luggage of foreign sailors. The epidemics exacerbated post-colonial racial prejudice and encouraged xenophobia; Philadelphia built the nation’s first quarantine station in response to a 1793 outbreak.

Yellow fever threw a bright light on economic inequality in the affected cities: families with the means to do so, like Irving’s, fled the “miasmic” urban environment for more healthful climates. Families that could not afford to seek “pure air” suffered not only from the virus, but from the terror of their neighbors: infected neighborhoods were marked with yellow flags or roped off, and few doctors were willing to treat the disease, the symptoms of which included the kind of bleeding and vomiting best left to horror films.

These were the conditions that brought a teenage Irving to Tarrytown, in Westchester County, to stay with his friend James Kirke Paulding. The young writer, as Brian Jay Jones notes in his biography, was smitten by both the pastoral tranquility of the Hudson Valley region, and its less-than-tranquil ghost stories. And it was here that Irving supposedly first heard the rumor of a headless Hessian buried near the Old Dutch Church, who “rode forth to the scenes of battle in nightly quest of his head,” as he would later write in his most famous tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” In truth, the ancestry of Irving’s Headless Horseman is not so easily traced—Sir Walter Scott deserves some credit for the hellish equestrian, too—but knowledgeable readers can find Irving’s own youthful experience of plague written upon every “bewitched” surface of the fictional village of Sleepy Hollow. (The real-world town of North Tarrytown renamed itself “Sleepy Hollow” in honor of Irving’s story in 1999.)

In the nearly 200 years since Washington Irving published his most famous tale, the name of the imaginary hamlet has become synonymous with Halloween. At first glance, this conflation makes perfect sense: “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” published in 1820, was America’s first ghost story, and the Headless Horseman, everyone’s favorite pumpkin-brandishing decapitate, was decidedly the new nation’s first ghost. But Irving’s spooky story of the ill-fated Yankee schoolmaster Ichabod Crane never actually mentions Halloween—for the simple reason that the holiday was not yet celebrated widely in the United States, and would not be for nearly a century more.

Why does “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” remain the original American fright-fest, inspiring interpretations and homages from Disney and Tim Burton to Kanye West to FOX? The answer has less to do with pumpkins or decapitated soldiers—and everything to do with Irving’s language of pestilence.

The story’s narrator, a Dutch historian named Diedrich Knickerbocker, describes the “sequestered glen” of Sleepy Hollow as a place with “contagion in the very air… it breathed forth an atmosphere of dreams and fancies infecting all the land.” Natives and newcomers alike were susceptible to this airborne infection, which caused them “to walk in a continual reverie.” Their somnambulance is “unconsciously imbibed by anyone who resides there for a time…however wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region[.]”

Ichabod Crane, who is himself a “newcomer,” is described as being far and away the most afflicted by this “visionary propensity”; he is addicted to scary stories and trades anecdotes out of Cotton Mather’s History of New England Witchcraft for the haunted local histories told by his Dutch hosts. The “pleasure in all this,” the narrator Knickerbocker warns, “…was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homewards.”

In Irving’s Sleepy Hollow the Dutch community can “vegetate,” to use Knickerbocker’s word—or better still, incubate—nurturing its visions and “twilight superstitions” without the interference of history.  The town’s collective sickness has made it into a time capsule—each day, nothing changes; each night, the Horseman comes. But the ending of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” offers a kind of vaccination : a way to leave contagion behind – and superstition, too.  After attempting to court a local heiress, unlucky Ichabod is chased down by the headless Hessian (or believes he is), and vanishes in the night, leaving only his horse and a smashed pumpkin behind.

The residents of Sleepy Hollow are convinced that the Horseman has made off with Crane’s head, but the narrator offers another possibility: that Crane may not, in fact, have perished by pumpkin, but instead recovered from his visions sufficiently to leave town under his own steam and take up work elsewhere as a “Justice of the Ten Pound Court”. The appealing ambiguity of this ending is often lost on those who adapt the story for movies, television or other media. It’s more cinematically satisfying to see the Horseman as the culprit behind Crane’s disappearance; “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” depends on its famous villain, after all. In truth, it’s not the Horseman or the hoax that we should fear, but the contagion that grips Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod's flight, far from being an act of cowardice, gave him back his life.

Just underneath the ghostly narrative that so many Americans know and love, a darker, an infinitely scarier story is being told, beside which the fear of a “goblin trooper” pales in comparison. If we read a little more carefully, we’ll find a history lesson embedded in the Halloween tale, a reminder to contemporary readers that the pathologies of the past were just as terrifying as our own modern plagues—and just as cloaked in mystery and misunderstanding.

The Myxosporidia, or Psorosperms of fishes, and the epidemics produced by them. By R.R. Gurley

Smithsonian Libraries
"Article 2 - extracted from the report of the U.S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries for 1892."

"Date of publication, December 28, 1894."

Also available online.


This Color Is Who I Am

Smithsonian Institution

Artist Frank Holliday's social circle in the 1980s was a who's who of New York City cool: Andy Warhol, Cyndi Lauper, RuPaul, Keith Haring, and even Madonna. But Frank's odyssey through the art world also placed him at the center of an epidemic that would shake the entire country. In honor of World AIDS Day, Sidedoor takes a look at America's early HIV/AIDS Crisis through the eyes of an artist whose life and work were changed by it forever. 

This episode features recordings from the "Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic" Oral History Project produced by the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art.

The Black Death Actually Improved Public Health

Smithsonian Magazine

Tens of millions of people died when the Black Death swept through Europe. It was a horrific tragedy enacted on a massive scale. But all that devastation might just have been a positive development…at least for the people who managed to survive and for their descendants. A new study published in PLOS One found that, for 200 years after the Black Death struck in the 14th century, living conditions in London improved and life spans lengthened.

As the author of the study, Sharon De Witte, writes:

Given that the mortality associated with the Black Death was extraordinarily high and selective, the medieval epidemic might have powerfully shaped patterns of health and demography in the surviving population, producing a post-Black Death population that differed in many significant ways, at least over the short term, from the population that existed just before the epidemic

And, indeed, that's what she found. The BBC reports:

"It really does emphasise how dramatically the Black Death shaped the population," she told BBC News.

"The period I'm looking at after the Black Death, from about 200 hundred years after the epidemic. What I'm seeing in that time period is very clear positive changes in demography and health."

She said although general health might have been improving, the aftermath of the epidemic would have been "horrifying and devastating" for those who survived.

"Those improvements in health only occurred because of the death of huge numbers of people," Dr DeWitte said.

De Witte looked at over 600 skeletons from London cemeteries and found that, while birthrates didn’t change much between the period before and after the Black Death, afterwards, people’s diets improved. Many were able to live longer lives than their predecessors.

It's not totally clear, though, why mortality improved. Was it the improved quality of life—lower food prices and higher wages—of a smaller population? Was it that the survivors of the epidemic were less frail? Or both? 

Oral history interview with Ross Bleckner, 2016 July 6-8

Archives of American Art
2 sound files (6 hrs., 23 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 151 pages.

An interview with Ross Bleckner conducted 2016 July 6 and 8, by Linda Yablonsky, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Bleckner's studio in New York, New York.

Bleckner speaks of his early childhood on Long Island, New York; psychoanalysis treatment as a child; early sexual experiences; his journaling practice; attending college at NYU; exposure to New York City's gallery scene in the late 1960s; spending the summer of 1970 in San Francisco; enrolling in CalArts' first graduating class; moving back to New York in 1975; his approach to painting; his body of gallery exhibitions; the beginning of the the AIDS epidemic; the New York nightclub scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s; the artists, art collectors, art dealers, and celebrities he socialized with in the 1980s; his career as an art professor; the effect of the AIDS epidemic on his paintings; his work as an AIDS activist; critical responses to his AIDS-related paintings; changes in the art world and market since the 1990s; and his greatest personal influences. Bleckner also recalls Sol Lewitt, Chuck Close, Howard Conant, Irving Sandler, Lizzie Borden, Paula Cooper, Julian Schnabel, Barbara Kruger, Betty Cunningham, David Salle, Eric Fischl, David Diao, Thomas Ammann, Andy Warhol, Alexis Rockman, Bianca Jagger, Gary Indiana, Michael Kimmelman, and others.

Association of Vibrio cholerae O1 El Tor and O139 Bengal with the copepods Acartia tonsa and Eurytemora affinis

Smithsonian Libraries
The association of Vibrio cholerae with zooplankton has beensuggested as an important factor in transmission of human epidemiccholera, and the ability to colonize zooplankton surfaces mayplay a role in the temporal variation and predominance of thetwo different serogroups (V. cholerae O1 El Tor and O139) inthe aquatic environment. To date, interactions between specificserogroups and species of plankton remain poorly understood.Laboratory microcosm experiments were carried out to comparequantitatively the colonization of two copepod species, Acartiatonsa and Eurytemora affinis, by each of the epidemic serogroups.V. cholerae O1 consistently achieved higher abundances thanV. cholerae O139 in colonizing adults of each copepod speciesas well as the multiple life stages of E. affinis. This differencein colonization may be significant in the general predominanceof V. cholerae O1 in cholera epidemics in rural Bangladesh wherewater supplies are taken directly from the environment.

Oral history interview with Doug Ashford, 2016 October 14-November 3

Archives of American Art
3 sound files (4 hrs., 28 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 71 pages.

An interview with Doug Ashford conducted 2016 October 14 and November 3, by Theodore Kerr, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Ashford's studio in Brooklyn, New York.

Oral history interview with Jack Waters, 2018 February 21-22

Archives of American Art
Audio: 4 sound files (5 hr., 59 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 72 pages.

An interview with Jack Waters, conducted 2018 February 21 and 22, by Alex Fialho, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at the Visual AIDS office in New York, New York.

Waters speaks of his early exposure to the arts through his family and their frequent visitors and boarders; the beginnings of his political consciousness, race consciousness, sex consciousness, and self-identity during the 1960s; his dance education at the Miquon School in Philadelphia; teaching at Miquon after briefly dancing in California; his dance and choreography education at the Julliard School and the Ailey School; his experience of the Lower East Side in the 1980s; the genesis and development of the Performing On One Leg collective; the start of the AIDS epidemic; collaborations with Gordon Kurtti and Brian Taylor, and their AIDS-related deaths; the importance of art-making and documentary practice during the AIDS epidemic; the beginning and development of his film and video work; collaborating with Peter Cramer on Black and White Study as both film and performance; receiving his HIV-positive diagnosis; the beginning and development of his work as a writer and journalist; his involvement in AIDS activist and queer activist organizations; a formative period in Ibiza during the fall 1983; his films The Male GaYze and Short Memory/No History; changes in queer activism he has observed since the 1980s, and the lack of historical memory about them; his experience of intergenerational queer dialogue; his involvement with Visual AIDS; and his thoughts on the idea of artistic legacy, both generally and in his particular case.

Why It Makes Sense to Send the US Military to Fight Ebola in Africa

Smithsonian Magazine

The U.S. military is launching a massive effort to counter the Ebola outbreak coursing through western Africa. More than 3,000 troops will be sent to the region to set up a command-and-control center, coordinate efforts, build hospitals, train health workers and bolster the flow of supplies, says the Washington Post

As President Obama noted yesterday, Ebola is spreading exponentially, with the rate of infection growing faster and faster. “Since the virus was discovered, no Ebola outbreak’s toll has risen above several hundred cases,” says health reporter Maryn McKenna at Wired. “This now truly is a type of epidemic that the world has never seen before.” A much larger effort is needed to wrest control over the epidemic, says Policy Mic.

It's not immediately clear why the U.S. military should be part of that effort. The scope and scale of this mission, after all, “is unprecedented as a public-health operation led by the U.S. military,” says policy analyst Stephen Morrison to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the seemingly odd fit, the U.S. military may actually be the right people for the job, says the Journal:

The operation will require the military to fuse its experience in responding to natural disasters with its training in biowarfare to minimize the risks of Americans contracting the disease. Personnel will bring medical assistance and training, logistical expertise and engineering experience to set up 17 field hospitals with 100 beds each, more than tripling current capacity.

"The U.S. military, with its enormous logistical capability, extensive air operations, and highly skilled medical corps, could address gaps in the response quickly," says the Washington Post

Having troops on the ground could also be useful given that Nigeria, one of the countries affected by the ongoing Ebola epidemic, is also facing pressure from the Boko Haram terrorist organization.

The military might even be able to provide a special set of skills that would be foreign to most healthcare workers.

One of the problems plaguing efforts to fight the Ebola outbreak has been a lack information. Not all cases are reported, and the disease can spread outside of the watchful eye of emergency managers. According to Fast Company, data assimilation techniques that have been previously used by the military to track terrorists could be turned on the epidemic.

The mission is expected to cost $750 million over the next six months, an even bigger effort than the one the World Health Organization called for in August, though smaller than the $987 million figure the U.N. cited this week.

Oral history interview with Nancy Brooks Brody, 2018 January 12-28

Archives of American Art
Sound recording: 9 sound files (6 hr., 54 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 106 pages.

An interview with Nancy Brooks Brody conducted 2018 January 12-28, by Svetlana Kitto, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Brody's home and studio in Brooklyn, New York.

Brody speaks of her childhood in Manhattan; her Eastern European ancestry and spending time with her grandmother and great-aunt in New Jersey; early experiences of art-making; early expressions of her gender identity and sexuality; formative childhood and adolescent experiences at summer camp; early memories of Fire Island; various living arrangements, social settings, and jobs as a young adult in Manhattan; her relationship with Jean-Michel Basquiat; attending the High School of Music & Art and the School of Visual Arts; the rise of Lower East Side art galleries in the 1980s; her first exhibitions, at New Math Gallery and elsewhere; her involvement in ACT UP; her involvement in fierce pussy; witnessing widespread death and bodily decay during the AIDS crisis; the illness and deaths of her very close friends David Knudswig, David Switzer, David Nelson, and Tony Feher; her practice of art-making during the AIDS epidemic; working for the Forest Service on Mount St. Helens from 1993 to 1996; working for Circus Amok upon her return to New York; her activism during the George W. Bush era; her memories of September 11, 2001; fierce pussy's series of retrospectives and new work beginning in 2008; her current activism for universal healthcare; and her most recent art-making and exhibition experiences. Brody also recalls Don Tinling, Adele Bertei, Ivonne Casas, Jonathan Schneider, Erika Belle, Madonna, Zoe Leonard, John Lurie, Hannah Wilke, Greer Lankton, Jennifer Bartlett, Jennifer Miller, Joy Episalla, Carrie Yamaoka, Hoaui Montaug, Edwige Belmore, Donald Mouton, Andrea Rosen, Kim Pierce, Sarah Johnson, Barbara Hughes, Jonathan Berger, Andrea Blum, Avram Finkelstein, and others.

Oral history interview with John Dugdale, 2017 January 17-18

Archives of American Art
2 sound files (6 hrs., 1 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 122 pages.

An interview with John Dugdale conducted 2017 January 17-18, by Theodore Kerr, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Dugdale's studio in New York, New York.

Dugdale speaks of finding great joy in his elementary school art teacher's classes; taking photographs of his siblings as a child; growing up in Stamford, Connecticut and remembering every detail of Little Italy; being bullied as a kid for being different; being a voracious reader; the impact of his parents' divorce at age 8; his interest in photography in high school taking him to the School of Visual Arts in New York City; being diagnosed HIV-positive; his first job photographing flowers for Mädderlake florists; the launch of his commercial photography career and the success that followed; caring for his friends who were sick and dying, thinking that would be his role in this epidemic; the stroke that left him almost completely blind and his extremely low T-cell count at the time of his hospitalization; spending a year in the hospital and ultimately checking himself out and recovering at home; the tremendous support of his family and community; having six weeks to prepare for a show at Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art upon returning home from the hospital; resurrecting the cyanotype process for the show; his surprise at the success of the show, and slow realization that people were moved by viewing their own experiences through his photographs; appreciation of the male body; being his own activist; creating art with the intention to draw people in and not scare them away; understanding and appreciating the power of the human body after experiencing multiple strokes and sight loss, and how these events brought more depth to his work; interacting with his models; a struggle with loneliness and desire for intimacy; the feeling of being awake and paying closer attention to the world around him; existing on borrowed time; experiencing a massive stroke as a result of long-term medication use; being HIV-positive for 10 years without showing symptoms; refusing to take AZT; his religious and spiritual beliefs; just as repaired Ming vases, feeling himself more powerful now in his "broken" state; his reaction to being represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art; his love of being a gay man and feeling strongly that he would change nothing about his life; finding difficulty in being identified as an HIV-related artist; and the house fire that helped him realize that we own nothing in this life, not even our own bodies. Dugdale also recalls his partner Rey Clarke, Maurice Sendak, Louise Nevelson, Keith Haring. Karen Waltuck, Tom Pritchard, Billy Jarecki, Carla Grande, Cynthia O'Neal, and Karen Murphy.

Oral history interview with Avram Finkelstein, 2016 April 25-May 23

Archives of American Art
23 sound files (7 hrs.) digital, wav

Transcript: 148 pages

An interview with Avram Finkelstein conducted 2016 April 25-May 23, by Cynthia Carr, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Finkelstein's home and studio in Brooklyn, New York.

Finkelstein speaks of his childhood on Long Island; attending the School of the Museum of fine Arts in Boston; moving to New York in the late 1970s; losing his first partner, Don Yowell, to AIDS; the genesis and distribution of his many AIDS activist posters; the beginnings and actions of ACT UP and Gran Fury; the context of the 1990s culture wars; the mishandling of HIV/AIDS as a public health issue in the 1980s and 1990s; his personal transformation as a result of living through the AIDS crisis; and his work on Flash Collective. Finkelstein also recalls Nan Goldin, David Armstrong, P.L. DiCorcia, Jorge Socarras, Lou Molette, Richard Goldstein, Larry Kramer, Chris Lione, Simon Doonan, Mark Simpson, Don Moffett, Todd Haynes, Robert Vasquez, Loring McAlpin, Michael Nesline, Tom Kalin, Amy Heard, Mark Harrington, Richard Deagle, Julie Tolentino, Lola Flash, Davod Meieran, Patrick Moore, Maria Maggenti, Sean Strub, Eric Sawyer, and others.

Oral history interview with Gary Garrels, 2016 September 12

Archives of American Art
1 sound files (3 hrs., 7 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 73 pages.

An interview with Gary Garrels conducted 2016 September 12, by Linda Yablonsky, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at the San Francisco Museum of Art in San Francisco, California.

Garrels speaks of his recent curatorial positions; his childhood in rural Iowa; his first meaningful exposure to art while working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's gallery in Boston in the late 1970s; his first New York City gallery positions in the mid-1980s; his formative gay relationships; his body of curatorial work; launching A Day Without Art in 1988; working in Minneapolis and San Francisco in the mid-1990s; his longtime partnership with Richard Hoblock; changes in the museum world that he has observed since the start of his career; and his current lifestyle and work. Garrels also recalls John R. Lane, Neal Benezra, Irena Hochman, Laura Carpenter, Vito Acconci, David Ireland, James Surls, Stuart Sherman, Julie Sylvester, Heiner Friedrich, Julie Ault, Doug Ashford, Tim Rollins, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Tom Sokolowski, Bill Olander, Robert Atkins, Robert Gober, Kathy Halbreich, John Caldwell, and others.

Oral history interview with Geoffrey Hendricks, 2016 August 17-18

Archives of American Art
2 sound files (5 hr., 33 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 171 pages

An interview with Geoffrey Hendricks conducted 2016 August 17-18, by Linda Yablonsky, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Hendricks' home in New York, New York.

Hendricks speaks of his childhood in New England and Chicago; his art education at Amherst College, Cooper Union, Yale's summer arts school, and Columbia University; his teaching career at Douglass College and Rutgers University; his affiliation and body of artwork with Fluxus; his first marriage and divorce to Nye Ffarrabas (née Beatrice Forbes); his partner Brian Buczak; involvement with Visual AIDS, Day Without Art, and other activist efforts; his relationship with Sur Rodney (Sur); his work to help HIV-positive artists plan their estates; his body of work and exhibitions as a solo artist; changes he has observed in the art world; and his hopes for his artistic legacy. Hendricks also recalls Philip Corner, Theodore Brenson, Rudolph Wittkower, Allan Kaprow, Bob Watts, George Brecht, Robert Filliou, George Maciunas, Peter Moore, Alison Knowles, Yoshi Wada, Peter van Riper, Bill Olander, Al Hansen, Francesco Conz, William Pope.L, Hermann Nitsch, Jill Johnston, and others.

Oral history interview with Hunter Reynolds, 2016 August 10-September 7

Archives of American Art
10 sound files (6 hrs., 1 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 87 pages.

An interview with Hunter Reynolds, conducted 2016 August 10-September 7, by Theodore Kerr, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Fales Library in New York, New York.

Reynolds speaks of his childhood in Minnesota, Florida, and California; early sexual experiences; attending Otis College of Art and Design; moving to New York in 1984 and becoming part of the East Village scene; the beginning of the AIDS crisis and safe sex discourse; his involvement in ACT UP; being diagnosed with HIV and starting ART+ Positive in Los Angeles in 1989; his body of artwork, performances, exhibitions, and activist actions; resonances between AIDS activism of the 1980s and '90s and contemporary activism around the Black Lives Matter movement; the politics of identifying as an HIV-positive artist; experimenting with drag and developing his alter ego Patina du Prey; performances with "Memorial Dress," "The Banquet," "Dervish Dress;' "Mummification" performance; living and working in Germany in the 1990s; and his personal struggle with long-term HIV survivorship; his "disaster" series and "Survial AIDS" series; and making his life, past and present, his personal masterpiece. Reynolds also recalls Kathy Burkhart, Susan Silas, Fred Tomaselli, Scott Hill, Leslie Dahlgren, Paula Cooper, Ray Navarro, Mark Kostabi, Bill Dobbs, Dread Scott, Kim Levin, Simon Watson, Maxine Henryson, Herr Vishka, Tony Feher, Jim Hodges, Dylan Nayler, Kathleen White, Krista Naylor, and others.

Oral history interview with Rosalind Fox Solomon, 2016 October 29 and 31

Archives of American Art
Transcript: 140 pages.

An interview with Rosalind Fox Solomon conducted 2016 October 29 and 31, by Linda Yablonsky, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Solomon's home and studio in New York, New York.

Solomon speaks of her childhood in Highland Park, Illinois; moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee with her first husband in 1953; beginning to take photographs in the late-1960s; formative international travels; moving to Greenwich Village in 1984 after her divorce; her body of photographic and audiovisual work and exhibitions; meeting and photographing people living with HIV/AIDS; taking photographs internationally; being an outsider in the 1980s New York art world; and changes in her work routine from the 1980s to the present. Solomon also recalls Charles Counts, Lisette Model, Henrietta Brockman, Jane Livingston, Weston Neff, John Szarkowski, Father Bill McNichols, Tom Sokolowski, Vince Aletti, Sarah Meister, Arthur Ollman, Peter Galassi, Roxana Marcoci, Peter Eleey, and others.

Oral history interview with Joy Episalla, 2016 February 23 and March 17

Archives of American Art
16 sound files (5 hrs., 16 min.) digital, wav

Transcript: 118 pages.

Oral history interview with Joy Episalla, conducted 2016 February 23 and March 17, by Cynthia Carr, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Episalla's home and studio in New York, New York.

Interview with Joy Episalla, conducted by Cynthia Carr for the Archives of American Art, at Episalla's home in New York, New York on February 23, March 7 and 17, 2016. Episalla speaks of her childhood in Yonkers, New York; early experiences with art-making, photography and theatrical production; earning a BFA from California College of the Arts; moving to the East Village in 1979 and Hoboken in 1982; her AIDS activism in the 1990s with ACT UP, The Marys, and fierce pussy; caring for and losing friends to HIV/AIDS; retrospective histories and exhibitions of her activist work; and her artwork in the 2000s; Episalla also recalls Carrie Yamaoka, Charles Gill, Beverly D'Andrea, Robert Bordo, Mark Morris, Vanessa Jackson, David Wojnarowicz, Tom Rauffenbart, Barbara Hughes, Stephen Machon, BC Craig, Tim Hamilton, Michael Cunningham, Maxine Wolf, Sarah Schulman, Jim Hubbard, Frank Moore, and others.
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