Its been more than 30 years since the first cases of HIV and AIDS were diagnosed and reported and in that time, public awareness has increased and so has the possibility of a cure. The stigma attached to individuals diagnosed with the disease has dissipated and these individuals aren't treated as social pariahs.
|The Keith Haring Foundation|
|Keith Haring's art is synonymous with AIDS activism during the 80s and 90s.|
Popular mass media depictions of the AIDs crisis such the Academy Award-winning film Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Tony Kushner's epic 8-hour play, Angels in America have introduced the horrors of the debilitating illness and the valiant efforts of resistance in mainstream popular culture. These works introduced the American public to various sexual identities and gave HIV and AIDS a human face. But as the San Francisco-based Center for Sex and Culture's (CSC) recent venture proves -- there was another visual art form that created awareness and inspired social change and perception: the poster.
|Buzz Bense Collection|
|Wrap him up in your love!|
The poster was the first medium used in the LGBT community to spread messages of hope and education during the hard-hitting years of the AIDS epidemic with slogans like "Safe Sex is Hot Sex" and "Outliving Forecasts of Doom: Keep it Safe." There were images of homosexuality made human and empowering.
"They showcase sexuality, gay lifestyles that are very diverse, identities and languages," said Carol Queen, executive director of the CSC. "There are many, many images of gay men in particular that most people had never seen before these poster began to show up on walls and cities all over the world."
Print posters were truly an essential and integral part of the 1980s and early 1990s era of activism. Now, the CSC is publishing a book that displays parts of their 150 print collection that will also go on public display Friday, Nov. 8. More »