Visual AIDS would like to thank everyone who attended, supported, and contributed to the 5th Annual Last Address Tribute Walk. Presented in collaboration with the exhibition AIDS at Home: Art and Every Activism at the Museum of the City of New York, the tribute walk took place throughout the West Village on Saturday June 3rd, 2017 to honor the lives of those who lived with HIV / died from AIDS-related complications.
Friends, family members, colleagues, and lovers of six HIV positive artists and activists spoke in tribute on the sunny Saturday afternoon. Nelson Santos read at the last address of Barton Lidice Benes (Westbeth Artists Community, 55 Bethune Street); Tyler Matthew Oyer read at the last address of Charles Ludlam (55 Morton Street); Bette Gordon read at the last address of Cookie Mueller (285 Bleecker Street); Mary Lou Harris and Eloise Harris (Hibiscus' sisters) read at the last address of Hibiscus (622 Greenwich Street); Agosto Machado read at the site of the passing of Marsha P. Johnson (Christopher Street Pier); and Casey Spooner read at the last address of Ron Vawter (285 Bleecker Street).
Watch a compilation video of the 5th Annual Last Address Tribute Walk here:
Excerpt: "When we were at the first address, the combination of people screaming at us, laughing, looking out the window, is everything that these artists were about. It changed the world." – Eloise Harris on the tribute walk
"It's 50 years since Conquest and 30 years since your death. Still, we all remember. The plays remain, not in vain, more like butane." – Tyler Matthew Oyer's poem on the life and work of Charles Ludlam
"Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the true leaders of liberation...she [Marsha] gives me and all the survivors such strength that we could carry on in our own way." – Agosto Machado on Marsha P. Johnson
Excerpt: "I wrote a fan letter, now, as me then [as an art student]... Dear Ron, I saw you in The Temptation of St. Antony and you were amazing. I don't even know what I saw, or what it all meant, but it was so glamorous and strange and exciting." – Casey Spooner on Ron Vawter
"I would've been afraid to approach someone as famous as Cookie, but she was so warm and so welcoming. I never met anyone who had the qualities of being both the queen of downtown and the nicest, warmest, best friend you could ever have." – Bette Gordon on Cookie Mueller
"Just as many people who claim belief in God disprove it with their every act, so too there are those whose every deed, though they say there is no God, is an act of faith." – Tyler Matthew Oyer reading Charles Ludlam's Manifesto on Theater
"Progress is progress. As long as a few of us are still here...to tell our history and reach out. So much of our history will not be actually recorded." – Agosto Machado on the importance of oral history in relation to the trans community in the West Village
"When we were at the first address, the combination of people screaming at us, laughing, looking out the window, is everything that these artists were about. It changed the world." – Eloise Harris
"We all have things that only we know are relics: a slip of paper with a lover's phone number, a ticket for a movie that you've kept for years, or a handkerchief with the scent of perfume. Left to history, these objects fall to the wayside." – Nelson Santos reading from Barton Lidice Beneš in Curiosa: Celebrity Relics, Historical Fossils, and Other Metamorphic Rubbish
A rose and original drawing by Win Mixter were left at each address to commemorate their lives, work, and impact on the community. Though these may be the last addresses where each artist lived, the life of their work continues to address, inspire, and live with a new generation today. The constellation of readings and roses, drawings and doorsteps of the tribute walks is a site for community based on both remembrance and response.
With nearly 100 in attendance, the 5th Last Address Tribute Walk was the largest since it started in 2012. With the Last Address Tribute Walk, Visual AIDS has honored artists, activists, and performers including Keith Haring, David Wojnarowicz, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Chloe Dzubilo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Martin Wong, Tseng Kwong Chi, Valerie Caris Blitz, and dozens of others.
All videos by Kaz Senju.