Robert Getso


Robert Getso is an educator (undergraduate/graduate-levels) and artist. His art work has been featured in documentary films and a few art gallery shows. His work tends to feature HIV/AIDS activism, particularly the direct action of ACT UP in its heyday from 1987 through the early 1990s, as well as other healthcare issues. His interest is in the politics of urban gay life and HIV/AIDS, because the AIDS crisis isn’t over. He has also been a client of GMHC since 1988.

Robert Getso died of a heart attack on December 22, 2014


After military service, I worked in drag clubs and hustler bars just before the AIDS epidemic, and later focused on HIV/AIDS in undergraduate and graduate studies as it decimated communities. Bill Sherwood’s (1986) film, “Parting Glances,” showed the first realistic look at urban gay life, including our rising anger, in the Reagan-era as AIDS wiped out friends, colleagues, and communities. In 1987, in the absence of national political leadership, ACT UP took to the streets engaging in direct action to end the AIDS crisis. Since the decline of ACT UP in the early 1990s, my focus has been on using still and motion picture photography to document that time, remember friends lost to AIDS, continue dialogue, support HIV+ artists, and contribute to the preservation of a legacy, because AIDS is not over. I have also been a client of GMHC since 1988.


Artist contributing, Visual AIDS, 15th Annual “Postcards from the Edge,” (2013) Artist contributing, “Art & AIDS: It’s Not Over” (2012) Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in partnership with GMHC. "United in Anger" (2012) Archival Footage Schulman/Hubbard. ”Here. Us. Now” (2012) Archival Footage Poe/Kauffman Fdn. “Advocate for Fagdom” (2012) Archival Footage Le Chat Qui Fume “Revolution” (2010/II) Archival footage Kraus/Abdi Nazemian “ACT UP/NY” (2008) Self Self