1987, American History Museum
A patchwork of talent and grief traced the course of a plague
Blogger and journalist Andrew Sullivan writes in our 101 Objects Special Issue:
I first saw the AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1989 in Washington, D.C. just as the epidemic was gathering pace. The overwhelming feeling was terror. I remember bumping into acquaintances on the patchworked landscape. “What’s going on?” I asked, lamely. “Oh, just looking for friends.” Like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial not so far away, it cataloged names—names we knew, names we heard recited like a metronome over the scene. But these names weren’t organized in a single aesthetic design, crafted in the same font; they were brought to life separately, each representing a distinct human being, with an actual life and an untimely death.
Read more of Sullivan's essay.