This book is the first survey of the art and practice of Art+Positive, a significant affinity group of ACT UP New York during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Staging self-initiated actions, and also participating in larger demonstrations organized by ACT UP, Art+Positive practiced an improvisational approach to activism at the intersection of the AIDS crisis and the culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their multiplatform projects were especially focused on fighting AIDS phobia, censorship, homophobia, misogyny, and racism within the art world. Members, collaborators, and contributors to Art+Positive included artists Lola Flash, Nan Goldin, Aldo Hernández, Zoe Leonard, Ray Navarro, Hunter Reynolds, Catherine (Saalfield) Gunn, Julie Tolentino, and David Wojnarowicz.
The Art+Positive archives, assembled by Hunter Reynolds in the mid-1990s, were out of public view for more than twenty years. Art collector and HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Daniel Berger acquired the group’s archives in early 2015. Shortly thereafter, he and artist John Neff presented an exhibition of the archives at Iceberg Projects, Chicago. Militant Eroticism: The ART+Positive Archives documents that exhibition and is extensively illustrated with artworks, documents, protest ephemera, and meeting notes from the Art+Positive archives. Also included are essays by Berger, Neff, and former ACT UP member and scholar Debra Levine. These essays are presented alongside previously unpublished writings by Ray Navarro, Hunter Reynolds, and David Wojnarowicz.