NYU Steinhardt is proud to announce the opening of “Gran Fury: Read My Lips,” the first comprehensive exhibition documenting the work of Gran Fury, the influential AIDS activist arts collective. Gran Fury’s work raised public awareness of AIDS, put pressure on politicians, and opened up a broader spectrum of understanding about the political and collective art practices that flourished in downtown New York during the 1980s and 1990s.
Showing at 80 Washington Square East, the exhibition opens Jan. 31, runs through March 17, and is free and open to the public. Curated by Gran Fury and Michael Cohen, assistant director of 80WSE Galleries, the exhibition consists of 15 pieces including the group’s most important public works, “Kissing Doesn’t Kill,” “Welcome to America,” and “Women Don’t Get AIDS,” that will be reproduced in large-scale mural formats.
Gran Fury — named for the model of Plymouth automobile used by the New York City Police Department — brought public awareness to the AIDS epidemic, and through bold, iconic imagery and design, brought the gay and lesbian community into mainstream consciousness.
The exhibition on display at 80 WSE conveys the collective’s unique voice across a wide variety of media, including billboards, postcards, video, posters, and painting that helped to convey the urgency of the early AIDS crisis and led many into the streets to demand reforms that changed public policy and saved lives.