Gran Fury, the hell-raising collective that arose from an ACT UP project at New York City's New Museum, also emerged at this time. Not only did the collective nearly get itself indicted for obscenity for exhibiting its stunning Pope Piece, which skewered the Pope for his lethal anti-safe-sex beliefs at the 1990 Venice Biennale, but it raised hackles in this country in 1989 and 1990 for its street-spanning banner for a New York City Day Without Art exhibition at the Henry Street Settlement that read "All People With AIDS Are Innocent" and for its famous Benetton ad-inspired image of three interracial homo- and heterosexual couples kissing above the caption "Kissing doesn't kill. Greed and indifference do." When it appeared on the sides of buses as part of Art Against AIDS' Art on the Road project, it prompted a Chicago alderman to call the work "an incitement to homosexuality." Who knows? Without AIDS, the culture wars might still be a bush-league skirmish in the Bible Belt.
I know you don't want to know more on that one, either.
Free Christian articles from Allongod.com: Freedom of Speach?
Its creators call it art with a message. But when a poster showing kissing men and women was displayed on city buses, two politicians said freedom of speech had gone too far.
"Where will we draw the line in terms of this homosexuality -heterosexuality thing?" said city Alderman Rogert Shaw, who said he would introduce an ordinance banning the AIDS awareness poster.
"Is anything going on in this country now [acceptable] under the guise of free speech?"
About 80 of the posters, which depict three couples - one heterosexual, one lesbian and one gay - each locked in a romantic kiss, were displayed on buses and at transit stations....
[. . .] Shaw said he planned to call a special City Council meeting to discuss his proposed ordinance, which would bar depictions such as that in Gran Fury's poster.
"This poster has nothing to do with the cure of AIDS," he said. " It has something to do with promoting a lifestyle, which I object to."
State Representative Robert Regan, a Republican, said Tuesday he would reintroduce legislation in the Illinois General Assembly that would bar such displays of sexuality. A similar bill failed this spring....
Unfortunately, it's no longer a question of what you want to know.
It's what I think you need to know.
And yes, I want a copy of that Gran Fury poster. The Brown Elephant on Ashland has one, but somehow I doubt it's for sale. Never had the balls to ask, to be honest.
Update: Should add a couple sics to that material from Allongod.com. . . really, I know how to spell speech most of the time.
Ganked the image from Ecole du Magasin - 12eme Session; they have more (all?) of the group's other work up too.
- Do you resent people with AIDS?
- Do you trust HIV-negatives?
- Have you given up hope for a cure?
- When was the last time you cried?
Interwoven into ArtForum: Gran Fury talks to Douglas Crimp. ('80s Then).(collective of AIDS activists)(Related article: '80S )("Artworks for Teenage Boys" )(Interview), from Good Luck...Miss You- ~ -Gran Fury.
The graphics collective Gran Fury, formerly part of ACT UP, has taken its sharp- tongued message even further: a superslick Benetton parody ran on buses in San Francisco and New York in 1989. Its headline blared "Kissing Doesn't Kill: Greed and Indifference Do" over a row of kissing couples, all of them racially-mixed and two of them gay. "We are trying to fight for attention as hard as Coca-Cola fights for attention," says group member Loring Mcalpin. "[I]f anyone is angry enough and has a Xerox machine and has five or six friends who feel the same way, you'd be surprised how far you can go."
Nowadays, of course, you don't even need the Xerox machine.
Anger and friends, though? Well, as long as you keep enough of a handle on the former that you don't piss off the latter. Too much.