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Expo Rock Hudson and the AIDS Crisis in Berlin

by our Editors in Theatre, Art & Expo , 22 januari 2017

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

A year ago Berlin’s Schwules Museum announced an overview of the collections. This self-reflection was interrupted because of a special exhibition but will now be re-installed. Of course, this re-installment will be novel. New art works within the exhibit will bring new perspectives and discussions. The first “special” is devoted to “Rock Hudson and the AIDS Crisis.”

In cooperation with the Cologne-based collector Björn Klimek the museum has brought together everything you ever wanted to know about the last superstar of the Hollywood studio system. The exhibition will not be telling the story of his fascinating career, but instead look at Rock Hudson as “The Face of AIDS.”

The exhibition looks back at the hysteria at the beginning of the AIDS crisis. The discourse centered around the idea that it was God’s punishment for the sinful behavior of homosexuals. German politician Peter Gauweiler, from the Christian Socialist Party (CSU), proposed to “intern” HIV+ people, and that idea was eaten up by the conservative press. It was assumed that gays didn’t care about who else they might infect with the disease. The so-called “Gay Plague” – with all its ideological implications – had fatal consequences.

There was no HIV treatment. No one knew for sure how the virus was transmitted. Hollywood celebrities demonstratively drank from Hudson’s water glass to combat the irrational fear of “contagion.” Linda Evans, star of the hit TV series “Dynasty,” kissed Rock Hudson on camera. Since he had remained silent about his HIV infection, the yellow press swelled with speculations about the dangers of Miss Evans also being infected.

Liz Taylor and Doris Day fought vigorously for their colleague whose involuntary outing as a gay man “smitten” with the new disease made headline news, worldwide. Rock Hudson became the first prominent face of the AIDS crisis and made the discussion about AIDS public for the first time.

The exposition “Rock Hudson and the AIDS Crisis” can be visited until March 27, 2017 at
the Schwules Museum
Lützowstraße 73, 10785 Berlin





In the New Issue of Gay News, 331, maart 2019

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