Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985-2010

For Immediate Release

Darlene Gillan, Director of Communications
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Graphic Intervention Condoman says: “Don’t be shame be game. Use condoms!” Protect Yourself. 1987, Australia. (caption)
Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985-2010

Stephen D. Paine Gallery at Massachusetts College of Art and Design
September 13–December 4, 2010
Reception: Thursday, October 7, 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Thursday, November 4, 2010, 6:30–8:30 p.m., Tower Auditorium

Boston, MA: Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010 draws from an extensive archive of arresting and fearless international public health announcements. This exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of the diverse visual strategies employed by government agencies, community activists, grassroots organizations, and motivated citizens to educate the local population. From Papua New Guinea to Denmark and Venezuela to Morocco, these posters demonstrate the different approaches used for discussion of a socially complex subject. The messages in Graphic Intervention deftly champion pertinent sociopolitical issues—disease research and eradication, world health, international relations, sexual education, social prejudices, and discrimination—in a remarkable way.

The posters are drawn largely from the collection of James Lapides, founder of the International Poster Gallery, Boston, with selections from MassArt’s poster archive. Lapides has spent the last decade collecting HIV/AIDS posters from more than 80 countries. With over 3,000 posters to choose from, curators Elizabeth Resnick and Javier Cortez narrowed down the wealth of visual depictions to 153 examples from 44 countries. Each poster carefully navigates socially complex themes presenting a myriad of visual solutions to a public health crisis.

Every nation hit by the disease—which is almost every nation—has tapped into posters and poster artists for their persuasive propagandistic powers. This exhibition highlights designing in particular vernaculars, across different borders, and for varied constituencies towards a singular, universal goal. As Lapides writes in the exhibition catalog:

The posters are a way of remembering those who have died due to AIDS—a graphic quilt of a different kind. The poster itself once again should be celebrated for its central role in promoting awareness, saving lives, raising donations, influencing the public debate and speaking out in the face of this terrifying global disease.

Graphic Intervention was curated by Elizabeth Resnick, Professor and Chair of Graphic Design at MassArt, and Javier Cortez, Partner and Creative Director at Korn Design, Boston. Resnick previously co-curated the well regarded exhibition The Graphic Imperative: International Posters for Peace, Social Justice & The Environment 1965–2005, which travelled extensively throughout the US and abroad from 2005-2010.

***High resolution images available upon request.

Exhibitions at the college are free and open to the public. The galleries are located in South Hall, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston.

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