Rebels Rebel looks at the history of AIDS activism undertaken by various artistic collectives in New York between 1979 and 1989. Among these once-controversial, now-legendary collectives were Gran Fury (who scandalized the 1990 Venice Biennale with their billboards juxtaposing the pope and his anti-contraception stance with a two-foot high penis), the Silence = Death Project (who appropriated and inverted the Nazis‘ pink triangle), Gang and DIVA TV. These collectives addressed concrete social problems using unconventional media, and in doing so helped to shift the public and political perception of the AIDS crisis. Collating a wealth of materials and perspectives, from graphic design to art works, and from sociopolitical to art-historical reflections, Rebel Rebels is an important and thorough examination of a rare overlap between art and activism during a time of heightened conservativism in America. It includes a full-color poster.
Tommaso Speretta: „Rebels Rebel: AIDS, Art and Activism in New York, 1979-1989“, Afterword by Loring McAlpin, 264 p., Asamer Ghent 2014. Ca. 28 Euro.