Aaron Brookner

For my family and Howard’s partner, who is like family, for 10 years we were in a state of shock. It takes time to appreciate fully what was going on then. That’s connected because post-9/11 New York is so completely different from the way it was and the counterculture movement going on before then was so remarkable; I think people are appreciating it a lot more now.

I have a feeling a lot of artists’ work got lost [because of AIDS]. Howard was fortunate because his family and friends supported him, but a chilling thing I remember was these guys at St. Vincent’s [Hospital] who would call out for someone to listen to them, just for a moment. They were dying alone. Who knows what happened to their work? It’s been a process to follow the thread to find out everything Howard did. It’s getting over that shock.

It’s been scattered and I had to follow leads. Some stuff was with different family members in various drawers. I find out about more stuff and more stuff [over time]. I won’t call it a treasure hunt, but it’s like an old Western movie we’re you’re onto one thing and it turns into another.

In adolescence I started to find out about Robert Wilson because I saw Lou Reed’s “Timerocker” at [the Brooklyn Academy of Music]. I started getting into Jim Jarmusch and knew that my uncle was a friend of his. I pieced together parts of his life in high school and college, which lead me to his story in a funny way.