Jun 20, 2019 - Sale 2514

Sale 2514 - Lot 199

Price Realized: $ 6,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200


Offset lithographed poster, 34x22 inches, 86 1/2x56 cm. Second edition. [New York]: AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, 1987.

Additional Details

The Silence=Death Collective formed in the early years of the AIDS epidemic including Avram Finkelstein, Chris Lione, Jorge Socarras, Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff and Brian Howard. This poster appropriated the Nazi regime's pink triangle for the Collective's own positive and empowered usage. The text at the bottom of the poster was printed in smaller typeface, "forcing intimate contact on the part of the reader…The poster was about complicity, at all levels, but it also needed to inspire action" (After Silence p. 48). In the first printing of the poster, a misunderstanding resulted in several misprints in the smaller text at the bottom. When the government agencies were actually spelled out to the typesetter of the poster they were misread as "The Center for Disease Control" as opposed to the "Centers" and it also read "Federal Drug Administration," instead of "Food and Drug Administration." The poster originally hit the streets in mid-March 1987, less than a month before ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) was formed. The Collective eventually turned the rights of the poster to ACT UP who reprinted it with the correct names of the government agencies as seen here. This poster was not, as many have written, the work of artist collective Gran Fury. Gran Fury (named after the type of Plymouth automobile used by the New York City Police Department) formed in 1988, the year after this poster was designed. After Silence pl. 1, Aids Demographics p. 30.