Art, Intimacy, and HIV—an Intergenerational Conversation

On Friday evening, June 18, 2021, the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division will present “LIFELINES: Art, Intimacy, and HIV—an Intergenerational Conversation,” a virtual event featuring artist Eric Rhein [A&U, December 2020], poet Mark Doty, and writer/curator Paul Michael Brown. The discussion will center on Rhein’s first monograph-memoir, Eric Rhein: Lifelines, published last year.

Rhein, Doty, and Brown will discuss the contexts in which they came of-age and how they created during the crisis of the AIDS pandemic. Rhein will show artworks and intimate photographs from Lifelines; Doty and Brown will read from the essays they contributed to Rhein’s monograph, detailing “the richness of thought, heart, and history which make the book both an artistic expression and an historic document.”

“These images affirm the desiring self at a moment when the desire had become dangerous…,” wrote Mark Doty.

Eric Rhein’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and abroad. He is also included in the “Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project” at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

Poet Mark Doty won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008 for Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. He has written ten books of poetry and five of nonfiction prose, including the recent What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life. Paul Michael Brown is a writer and curator who curated the 2019 exhibition “Eric Rhein: Lifelines” at Institute 193 and 21c in Lexington, Kentucky, which served as the inspiration for this book.

The Bureau of General Services—Queer Division is an independent, all-volunteer queer cultural center, bookstore, and event space that opened in New York City in 2012 and has been hosted by The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center since 2014.

People wishing to participate in the evening must first register on Eventbrite at The event is free, but BGSQD urges you to make a five-dollar contribution when registering. Closed captioning will be available.

For more information, log on to

—Reporting by Hank Trout

Hank Trout, Senior Editor, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a forty-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his husband Rick.