September 14, 2022
Today, on what would have been artist David Wojnarowicz’s 68th birthday, two quilt panels honoring David and his partner, Tom Rauffenbart, have been donated to the AIDS Memorial Quilt project.
David experienced the illness and death of many friends from AIDS while living with his own HIV-positive diagnosis from 1987-1992. As devastated communities tried to make sense of it all and support each other, David led the way forward with his words and images and activism.
In 1987, close to 2,000 quilt panels—each measuring the size of an average grave—were displayed on the National Mall to honor loved ones lost to AIDS. The brainchild of gay rights activist Cleve Jones, the quilt now has over 50,000 memorial panels.
Jones explains he conceived the memorial as a form of therapy for “a community that was increasingly paralyzed by grief and rage and powerlessness.”
“This is our Arlington,” cultural critic (and Wojnarowicz biographer), Cynthia Carr, recently told The New York Times.