Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Revisiting 'Silence = Death' Three Decades Later

The Village Voice caught up with the five surviving NYC activists who created the "Silence = Death" poster -- including gay Zelig and my pal Jorge Socarras -- to recall its origins and hear about new social-justice-driven art they are creating. Reading the piece made me feel like I had been transported in time, to a hopeless place I wish never existed:
This is a to-do list from 1986, written in the journal of Avram Finkelstein, then an art director with Vidal Sassoon. He and five comrades — Brian Howard, Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff, Chris Lione, and Jorge Socarrás — had gathered over several months to provide support for one another in the face of AIDS, and in doing so came up with an idea for a poster to address the epidemic then decimating their world. Their eventual creation — a pink triangle set against a black background, with the words “Silence = Death” below it — would several months later end up wheatpasted on walls throughout the city, and would eventually be used by the then-nascent activist group ACT UP (with permission from the poster’s creators) as its central visual. 
The origins of Silence = Death, which stands alongside We Shall Overcome, Sí Se Puede, We Are the 99%, and #blacklivesmatter as a touchstone of social justice movements, can be traced to a New York diner in 1985.
 Read on HERE.

Charles Krelo, Avram Finkelstein, Jorge Socarrás, Brian Howard, Chris Lione, and Oliver Johnston meet at Krelo's Chelsea apartment during the winter of 1987

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