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Visual AIDS is saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Lum, an artist and filmmaker who was part of Visual AIDS community for decades. Charles passed away on November 30, 2021.

Charles Lum was a New York-based artist who worked in video, photo, and performance. For more information about his artwork, visit his website at clublum.com and his page on the Visual AIDS Artist+ Registry.

We are sharing photos, video, and tributes to Charly below. If you would like to add your memories, please email written contributions and images to [email protected].

Charles was featured in Steed Taylor's video I Am... a Long-term AIDS Survivor, commissioned by Visual AIDS for Day With(out) Art 2021.

Todd Verow has uploaded a collection of Charly's early Super-8 films to YouTube, dating back to 1971:

Peter Cramer

Charles Lum: Friend, filmmaker, location scout and cineaste of infinite exuberant energy and eros. Full of charm, direct and determined to those that delighted his eye and mutual mindful machinations of weed, movies, sex and car driving. Our original good-time Charley of generous spirit and sprite - highlights included his legendary birthday Pride party and gifts of his unique postcard photo portraits. To be able to know him for decades and see him annually at MIX NYC, the original lesbian & gay experimental film festival, was a joyous adventure. His film Overdue Conversation (2004) helped me better understand my own issues around HIV disclosures and safe sex. Glad that his film works will live on for future generations. Will miss his love and joie de vivre always.

Carlo Quispe

Charlie was a great friend to me ever since we met, he was kind and generous and always told me he loved me - and I’m lucky I got many chances to tell him I loved him back. He was the reason I met a lot of friends and I am grateful for all the fun we had together. Love you Charlie!

John Hastings

I met Chuck Lum (I still call him Chuck) when we both attended Carleton College in Northfield MN. We became close friends and stayed in touch (he was good at that) and I eventually moved to Maine, where the Lums have a family home on Panther Pond, about a half hour from Portland, Maine, where I now live. Many people who knew Charly know of his love for Maine, so I wanted to share a few photos of one of his favorite places in the world.

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At the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley, Maine late August 2019. We were the only ones there. The tour starts with a short video, which Chuck said he wanted to remake for them. It was beautiful road trip and included pumpkin soft serve from a roadside stand.
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At the Portland Maine Pride Parade June 15, 2019.
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The Treasure Chest was a frequent stop of his in Portland. It was also a location for one of his movies, his only scripted one.
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Relaxing with our dog Mickey, at our house in Portland. They really loved each other. Mickey would cry with joy when he saw Chuck in our driveway.
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The Cow Parade at the Fryeburg Fair. This fair is the biggest fair in Maine. Woodsmen’s Field Day at the Fryeburg Fair was probably his favorite day of the year. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures of that. The fair is featured in his film F/F.
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The captain on his boat, after our last ride together this summer. Chuck spent countless hours on his boat and anchoring in his favorite cove reading the New York Times. He loved to water ski too.
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Relaxing on the dock with Mickey this summer.
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The beach at Panther Pond. On the left across the pond is where Charly went to summer camp in his youth.
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This is the Lum house on Panther Pond. Charly’s cabin is on the left and inside it’s an old-fashioned Maine camp. This photo was taken on Dec. 1, the day after he died. We just had to drive out there.