Eric & Jose

We are excited to publish another installment of our oral history project, "The Body As An Archive," featuring José Luis Cortés and Eric Rhein in conversation. Both artists were included in the 1995 exhibition The First 10, which featured works by the first ten artists represented in the Visual AIDS Archive. As long-term HIV/AIDS survivors with a rich mutual history, José and Eric unpack the complexities of their childhoods, their introduction to art-making, living through their HIV-related illnesses and early treatment methods, governmental corruption, and the importance of stewarding a legacy. In an additional video, José and Eric each take a moment to more intimately showcase certain pieces of their work, discuss various ephemera they’ve gathered, and connect with Constantine Jones about the intergenerational differences in experience living with HIV.

Watch, listen, or read the conversation at

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Eric Rhein

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Jose Luis Cortes