Every year critics list their favorite books, films, etc over the past year. This year many of these lists included work that looks back at the moments, people and ongoing impact of HIV/AIDS in the earliest days:

“This admirably sensitive and cleareyed biography makes a case that, in life and art, he was “so ugly he was beautiful’”, writes Dwight Garner of Cynthia Carr’s Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz in his 10 Favorite Books of 2012 article.

In selecting Sarah Schulman’s The Gentrification of the Mind for the Salt Lake Tribune’s Overlooked books of 2012 list, slate contributor June Thomas writes, “Schulman is driven to point out that the deaths of tens of thousands of gay men coincided with and greatly facilitated the gentrification of urban neighborhoods.”

Writing about the role of the body in American films this year, Stephen Holden included the film How to Survive a Plague, as did his peer A.O Scott who wrote of that it was: “A remarkable story of loss, love and activism during the worst years of the AIDS epidemic.”

What these reviews have in common of course is a celebration of artistic achievements by writers and filmmakers who have produced moving works of art that speak to the earliest days of the AIDS crisis.

At Visual AIDS we are interested in the culture's desire to look back after so many years of looking away and we are excited about the work that is being made by artists, such as those in the Visual AIDS online registry, about the reality of the AIDS crisis now.