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Vintage AIDS Activism Posters on Display for World AIDS Day Exhibit
The Past Is the Present With 'It's Not Over' Exhibit of AIDS Activism
Activist posters, picket signs, and ephemera from the height of the AIDS epidemic will be on exhibition in conjunction with World AIDS Day outdoors in West Hollywood via the ONE Archives' pop-up exhibition. "It's Not Over: Posters and Graphics from Early AIDS Activism" will be on display for a month in Los Angeles county's queer mecca from Dec. 1 - Dec. 31.
The public art display draws a throughline from the AIDS epidemic to the current pandemic in terms of the lack of leadership that disproportionately affected marginalized communities and the activism that sprang up.
Curated by Umi Hsu, Jaime Shearn Coan, and Fati Beck, "It's Not Over" was created in collaboration with the City of West Hollywood and the progressive West Hollywood-based real estate firm Faring. A digital accompaniment will be available to view at the ONE Archives site.
"It's Not Over" will be on display at 8954 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Information about the event is via a release from the ONE Archives.
Flyers for first ACT UP/LA meetings (both Spanish and English) 1987
Flyers for first ACT UP/LA meetings (Spanish and English), ACT UP/LA Records, ONE Archives at USC Libraries.
The images on display at the exhibit will include pamphlet graphics by Keith Haring, picket signs from historic protests in Los Angeles and New York, flyers for the first ACT UP/LA meeting in 1987 and Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), safer sex campaign posters featuring men and women of color, World AIDS Day and Day Without Art posters, and more, according to release.
Body & Soul. Date unknown.
Body and Soul, LGBTQ Poster Collection, year unknown, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.
"At a time when we are isolated and impacted by racial violence, as well as structural inequity brought into focus by COVID-19, It's Not Over reminds the viewer of the resilience that defines the LGBTQ community, which will carry us through into tomorrow," co-curator Jaime Shearn Coan (Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow and Communications Manager at ONE Archives Foundation) said.
Health Care? circa 1987-1996 ACT UP/LA
Health Care? circa 1987-1996, Los Angeles Picket Sign Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.
With the inclusion of graphics with messages like "HIV Discrimination Kills," "It's Not Over" recalls earlier periods of organizing and resistance that also serve to galvanize us in the present. In the style of Yoko Ono and John Lennon's protest art messaging: "War Is Over! (If You Want It)," this public art exhibit disseminates an important reminder that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not over, with 38 million people living with HIV globally in 2019. And as we know, its ongoing impact disproportionately affects the Black community.
HIV Discrimination Kills. circa 1987-1996
HIV Discrimination Kills, year unknown, Los Angeles Picket Sign Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.
As of 2018, 42 percent of new HIV cases have occurred within the Black community, which only makes up 13 percent of the US population. The "It's Not Over" message, coupled with a diversity of experiences represented through the selected posters, illustrates a multi-perspectival story of HIV/AIDS activism and highlights the longstanding struggle against HIV discrimination.
Women don't have AIDS, they just die from it, 1991.
Women don't have AIDS, they just die from it, 1991, Judy Sisneros ACT UP/Los Angeles Records, ONE Archives at USC Libraries.
"Political graphics from early AIDS activism exemplify boldness, resilience, and compassion. Each poster is a provocation. Each flyer is a story. Each picket sign is an embodiment of how people came together to fight for dignity and justice," ONE Archives Foundation's Director of Content and co-curator Umi Hsu said. "These images belong to the people. I'm excited that we will offer these images through the vernacular of street art mounted outdoors for the public realm, in order to continue to inspire the organizing efforts in our present moment."
Rev. Carl Bean. 1989.
Rev. Carl Bean, 1989, Los Angeles Picket Sign Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.
"Just as COVID-19 has been ignored by the Trump Administration, HIV/AIDS is still very much with us, especially among LGBTQ People of Color. Now that we have medications to treat HIV and prevent its transmission, we must ensure that everyone has access to treatment and prevention. It's Not Over forces us to re-open our eyes and commit ourselves to taking action," ONE Archives Foundation Board Member Dr. Neal Baer said in a statement about the exhibit.
No on 64 Keith Haring pamphlet, 1986
No on 64! Keith Haring, 1986, No on 64 Records, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.
Founded in 1952, the ONE Archives Foundation is the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States and is dedicated to telling the accurate stories & history of all LGBTQ people and their culture. As an independent nonprofit, ONE Archives Foundation promotes the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries -- the largest repository of LGBTQ materials in the world -- and provides free innovative educational initiatives, public exhibitions and community programs.
Keith Haring was here / ACT UP Fight homophobia. circa 1989-1996
Keith Haring was here/ ACT UP Fight homophobia, circa 1989-1996, Los Angeles Picket Sign Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.
Oct 6: Remember their names: fight for the living. 1989
Oct 6: Remember Their Names: Fight for the Living, 1989, LGBTQ Poster Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.