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David Kirby Aids Sufferer

David Kirby Aids Sufferer - Like wars and natural disasters, the AIDS epidemic spurred artists around the world to create posters designed to inspire unified action against a common enemy.

Instead of messages inspiring citizens to resist invaders or reinforce levees, these posters encouraged safe sex, condom use and tolerance.

Many artists had to contend with wide-ranging social stigmas and outright cultural taboos when portraying sexuality, gay relations, nudity or drug use. They came from traditional cultures where such subjects were spoken of in whispers and certainly not depicted in posters that were publicly displayed.

Yet a great many artists prevailed in their task, creating posters that were almost always informative, very often memorable and sometimes beautiful in jolting ways.

They are displayed in "Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters, 1985-2010" at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

The exhibit was co-curated and organized by Professor Elizabeth Resnick, who chairs the college's Graphic Design Department, and Javier Cortes, partner and creative director at Korn Design, of Boston and New York.

Selecting 153 posters from 44 countries from more than 3,000 choices, they have brought together a representative sampling of styles, messages and strategies that let viewers understand the challenges artists faced.

"To qualify, we wanted posters that were about prevention or tolerance," said Cortes. "As a secondary goal, we were interested in displaying strategies that showed how artists responded visually to different traditions in which they lived and worked."

David Kirby Aids Sufferer


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