BMA Violet Hour: Illuminating Lesser-Known Stories about AIDS in the U.S.

In conjunction with the new exhibition, Darrel Ellis: Regeneration, join us for Marginalized No More?: Illuminating lesser-known stories about AIDS in the United States, a presentation and Q&A from Dr. Jason Chernesky, Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

For over 40 years, HIV/AIDS has altered the lives of countless Americans. But many of their histories remain marginalized in our collective memory about the pandemic’s past and present impact. To better understand and humanize the effect of the disease in the U.S., historian Jason Chernesky will tell the story of how HIV/AIDS affected the lives of children, families, and Black gay men such as artist Darrel Ellis.

An audience Q&A moderated by Leslie Cozzi, curator of Darrel Ellis: Regeneration, will conclude the evening’s event.

Seating in the BMA Auditorium is first-come, first-served.

Program Schedule

6 p.m. – Presentation begins

7 p.m. – Presentation ends


Dr. Jason Chernesky

Jason Chernesky recently earned his PhD in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. As a historian of twentieth-century medicine, healthcare, and public health in the United States, his research examines race-based health disparities among American children and their families in the context of the built environments in which they lived. Based on his doctoral dissertation, “The Littlest Victims”: Pediatric AIDS and the Urban Ecologies of Health in the Late-Twentieth-Century United States, Jason is working on a book proposal that examines the ways in which the AIDS pandemic affected Black and Latinx children and families in the United States. Jason has recently contributed a chapter to Queer Newark (Rutgers Press, 2023) titled, “The Overshadowed: How the HIV-AIDS Crisis among Newark’s Gay Communities became Culturally Invisible.” As the Council on Library & Information Resources (CLIR) Opioid Industry Research Postdoctoral Fellow, Jason will be involved in stewardship of public access and engaged research into this growing digital archive, co-curated by Johns Hopkins and UCSF.


Leslie Cozzi

Dr. Leslie Cozzi (she/her), FAAR’18, is the Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Art. She co-curated the critically acclaimed survey A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore, and is organizing solo exhibitions of the works of Darrel Ellis and Omar Ba that will open at the BMA in the fall of 2022. She has previously curated exhibitions on the work of William CordovaSHAN Wallace, Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick, Zackary DruckerAna Mendieta, and Valerie Maynard. Dr. Cozzi has co-edited and contributed to several exhibition catalogs, including A Modern Influence: Henri Matisse, Etta Cone, and Baltimore; Valerie Maynard: Lost and Found; Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space; the Menil Collection’s publication of Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now; and the Pomona College Museum of Art’s exhibition catalog for Pages: Mirella Bentivoglio, Selected Works, 1966-2012. She has also contributed to scholarly journals, anthologies, and artforum.com.


Darrel Ellis. Untitled (Mother’s Bedroom). (detail) c. 1987-1991. Courtesy of Candice Madey, New York and The Darrel Ellis Estate. © Darrel Ellis Estate

The Details

Location BMA Main Campus 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Cost Free