ISSN: 20455836
First published in 2012
2 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 1
Cover Date: February 2013
From the Streets to the Gallery: Exhibiting the Visual Ephemera of AIDS Cultural Activism
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Authors:  Tara Burk 
DOI: 10.1386/jcs.2.1.32_1

exhibitions of ephemera,AIDS activism,queer art,archives,ACT UP New York,Gran Fury: Read My Lips

Recent curatorial attention to AIDS cultural activism and its attendant queer and feminist public art practices has highlighted issues surrounding the display of visual ephemera generating questions such as how can materials made for the street be displayed in a gallery setting? What, if any, contextualization is required? How are activist practices transformed when they become materials in an archive? Different curatorial strategies have included the presentation of original posters from the personal archives of activists (ACT UP New York: Activism, Art and the AIDS Crisis 1987–1993, 2009 and 2010) to the reprinting and enlargement of graphic designs originally utilized as posters, billboards and demonstration placards (Gran Fury: Read My Lips, 2012). Each of these exhibitions relied upon an archival aesthetic, but towards different ends: ACT UP New York organized its archive in affective terms, while Gran Fury: Read My Lips created a sociocultural presentation. This article compares these two exhibitions, and the curatorial strategies each devised in order to represent and animate the ephemera of AIDS cultural activism.
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