The paper examines the reception of HIV/AIDS-related artworks from the 1980s by comparing four New York exhibitions from the early 1990s and 2010s. It argues that to this day artworks dealing with AIDS are bound to political and moral demands of former activists from the AIDS movement in New York. This politicization of historical images of AIDS is striking since the disease has lost its fatal threat in Western countries and political constellations have changed. Yet current exhibitions focus only on activist, politically motivated responses to the epidemic in order to represent an “appropriate” remembrance of AIDS. Thirty years after the climax of the epidemic, images of AIDS are currently integrated in the canon of art history, while they are continuously claiming their political efficacy.