By Christopher Harrity
Originally published on Advocate.com February 04 2012 5:00 AM ET
Depending on your age, you might be seeing many of these images for the first time. If you were alive and terrified during the '80s, these images may have transformed your fear into activism.
Spawned in ACT UP meetings, the AIDS activist art collective Gran Fury took its name from the model of Plymouth automobile used by the New York City Police Department. The work was produced with the intent of raising public awareness of AIDS and to encourage pressure on politicians, doctors, and religious leaders to address their own lack of response.
Although the work was produced in a collective, it has a singular voice. Their work reflects the political and collective art practices that flourished in downtown New York during the '80s and '90s.
"Gran Fury: Read My Lips" opened January 31 at New York University 's 80WSE Galleries and continues until March 17. Gran Fury has reconstituted all but two of the works from archival documentation for this survey with the assistance of the 80WSE staff.
Reproductions of all the major works are included as well as documentation of ACT UP demonstrations and shots of Gran Fury's works installed site-specifically. In addition, the exhibit includes images of the site-specific works' defacement by those responding to them and rare archival images from high points in the collective's career such as the 1991 Venice Biennial controversy.
For more information: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/80wse/