An interview with Douglas Crimp, conducted 2017 January 3-4, by Alex Fialho, for the Archives of American Art's Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project, at Crimp's home in New York, New York.
Crimp speaks of growing up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; his athleticism in water skiing and ice skating; sibling rivalry as a child; seeing art for the first time at the Seattle World Fair; being closeted and conflicted as a young gay man in 1950s Idaho; attending Tulane University in New Orleans and the culture shock he experienced there; his first year in Tulane's rigorous architecture program and ultimately changing his major to art history; the pageantry of Mardi Gras parades and the gay society he explored; writing an undergraduate paper analyzing Marcel Duchamp's "The Large Glass"; deciding to go to New York City; finding his voice as an art critic while beginning his career at Art News and Art International; his extensive analysis of Joan Jonas; attending Firehouse dances sponsored by Gay Activist Alliance and coming into his sexuality; being a patient of esteemed doctor Dr. Dan William; first learning of the AIDS crisis and epidemic through a New York Times article in 1981 describing a gay cancer; receiving an NEA art critic grant and spending a year in Germany from 1985-86; returning to find friends and acquaintances sick with HIV/AIDS or having died from it; the Dia Conversations; his role as editor of October and bringing queerness and AIDS to the forefront; joining ACT UP; the genesis of October's AIDS double issue in 1987-1988 and its success; how the journal issue changed the course of his career and steered him to teach gay studies and further his work with AIDS activism; the inner workings of ACT UP meetings; the sense of community ACT UP provided and the empowerment everyone felt; noting a sense of personal and professional urgency during the crisis; the timeline of his AIDS writings; his reaction to seeing the AIDS quilt for the first time at the March on Washington; writing to a wide, non-academic audience; his 1988 course at Rutgers University on AIDS video; his complex relationships with Rosalind Krauss and Annette Michelson; the poor coverage of the AIDS epidemic in the media and how it informed his writing; the understanding of the need for safe sex practices and writing "How to Have Promiscuity in an Epidemic;" teaching courses on AIDS at the University of Rochester and how his teaching interest evolved into queer theory and studies; evaluating Warhol's work with a queer lens; writing about his experience with queer life in New York City in the 1970s to counter the condescending conservative narrative; his current writing projects and interests; experience in demonstrations held by ACT UP; and the tremendous communal support he felt during his seroconversion. Crimp also recalls Marilynne Summers (Robinson), Bernard Lemann, Marimar Benetiz, Ida Kohlmeyer, Lynn Emory, Diane Waldman, Betsy Baker, Lucinda Hawkins, Christian Belaygue, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Rosalind Krauss, Joan Copjec, Gregg Bordowitz, Terri Cafaro, Rene Santos, Craig Owens, Fernando Torm, Bill Olander, Richard Elovich, Daniel Wolfe, Hector Caicedo, Lynne Cooke, and Zoe Leonard.
Biographical / Historical:
Douglas Crimp (1944- 2019) was a professor and art critic in New York, New York. Alex Fialho (1989- ) is a curator and arts writer who is the Programs Director for Visual AIDS in New York, New York.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Art critics -- New York (State) -- New York -- Interviews Search this
Century 21 Exposition (1962 : Seattle, Wash.) Search this
116 Film reels (color silent reversal; 44,350 feet, 8mm and Super 8mm)
Panama Canal (Panama)
Walter Goetz was an amateur photographer who shot films on his many vacations. This collection contains film footage from 41 trips that he took between 1949 and 1986.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains film footage from 41 trips that Walter Goetz took to North America, the Caribbean, Europe, the South Pacific, Central and South America, and Asia. Goetz's travels spanned the years 1949 to 1986, with a trip almost every year. The collection does not contain the notes and photographs that he took or the artifacts that he collected while travelling.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or Anthropology Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
The films are arranged chronologically.
Biographical / Historical:
Walter George Goetz was born November 21, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York. He was the only child of Mary and Walter Goetz Sr., who lived in Glendale, Queens. Goetz worked for many years for AT&T. From an early age, he accumulated photographs and films of his travels, becoming an accomplished photographer. He loved to share his films at family gatherings, presenting the films with help from his copious notes, using artifacts brought home from his travels to enhance his talks.
Walter and his family moved to New Jersey and then to Florida, where they lived for 23 years. Hawaii became Walter's favorite place to visit, and he and his family often travelled there for 4 to 6 weeks at a time.
At his death, Goetz asked that his films be shared. He died March 13, 2018, in Spring Hill, Florida at the age of 86.
Descriptions given to the HSFA by the Goetz family.
The Walter Goetz films were donated by the Goetz family.
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.