Occupy Wall Street // Arts & Labor
Teach-In with Gran Fury
Friday, March 23, 7-9 PM
Einstein Auditorium, Barney Building,
34 Stuyvesant Street between Second and Third Avenues, NYU
What can the Occupy movement learn from the intersection of visual
arts and direct action in groups like Gran Fury and ACT UP? To explore
this question, please join Arts & Labor for a teach-in and discussion
with members of Gran Fury, an art collective active from 1988 to 1995
that grew out of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power).
Some of the questions that might emerge from this discussion include:
How did ACT UP and Gran Fury target not only broader cultural
attitudes about AIDS, but specific laws, regulations, and government
policies, and did that require tactics different from those of OWS?
How were specific targets (for instance, access to healthcare and the
price of prescription drugs) part of a larger economic system? How did
ACT UP and Gran Fury critique these systemic problems, and how can
this critique be advanced today? How did a movement that began largely
through the efforts of white, gay men deal with issues of diversity?
How can activist groups build alliances and coalitions? How do we
navigate the relation between a smaller affinity group and a larger
Central to our discussion is the question of how artists and art
workers participate in social movements and how art, activism, and
direct action functioned then and now.
About Gran Fury
Gran Fury originally formed as an affinity group to organize an
exhibition on the AIDS crisis at the New Museum, “Let the Record
Show. . .” (1987), and went on to create numerous media interventions
in the form of posters, billboards, and public service announcements
aired on television. They produced such visually striking graphics as
“The Government Has Blood on Its Hands,” “Read My Lips,” “Kissing
Doesn’t Kill,” and “Women Don’t Get AIDS (They Just Die From It).” An
exhibition of their works is currently on view through March 17 at
80WSE, New York University.
An online archive of their work is available from the New York Public Library at:
For a brief summary of their history, see the interview with Douglas
This event is part of an ongoing series of educational initiatives and
direct actions organized by the Occupy Wall Street Arts & Labor group.