AIDS Chronicles

About the Chronicles

The AIDS Chronicles are historical, statistical documents that record the discourse surrounding one of the defining events of our age: the AIDS pandemic. Each yearly volume consists of 365 front pages from the New York Times, collected over the year from 1 December to 30 November.  These pages are treated on both sides with three layers of acrylic paint, producing blood-red sheets that leave visible only images or articles that mention AIDS or HIV, thus recording of the (lack of) day-to-day discourse on AIDS in one of the most read newspapers in the United States.

Periodically, these documents are displayed on December 1st, World AIDS Day, either on a pedestal or in an imposing grid arrangement, to allow members of the community to view the pages that mark a year of AIDS history. After each period of display, an artist is commissioned by the Institute to bind the pages and create an original cover for the annual volume before it is deposited in the ICI Library for permanent display. In years when the Chronicles are not displayed, associates, supporters and community volunteers come together on December 1st to paint the pages of these yearly tomes.

The process of creating Chronicle pages is not difficult but it is time-consuming. Not only are the pages subjected to a three-part painting process on each side, they also must be cut, read for articles, arranged chronologically and interleafed with glassine. On average, each page takes 1.5 hours to produce. The method of their making and display is simple but the questions are endless and complex.

The following links provide overview of the history and current status of this project:


If you are interested in creating a cover for a volume of the AIDS Chronicles, or if you would like to participate in this project as a volunteer, please contact us. You can support the continuation of this project by painting pages digitally here or through our gift shop.

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