The artist collective that created SILENCE=DEATH in the 1980's never intended for the image to be adopted by ACT UP. In fact, the artwork came to life as the result of regular pot luck dinners among a group of friends trying to deal with the onslaught of AIDS. That is only one of a number of interesting revelations in a new video interview with one of the men responsible for the image.
"SILENCE=DEATH was the result of six men who felt completely alone," said Avram Finkelstein, a New York artist who participated in the group and went on to create some of the most iconic HIV/AIDS messages of the era.
In an interview with blogger Mark S. King (My Fabulous Disease), Avram provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the artwork was designed, including his personal notebook of initial sketches. Avram shares juicy details on topics ranging from the extremely personal political battles that fueled the artwork, the use of a gay porn image that led to a very interesting phone call from one of the models, and the importance of "flash collectives" that use community input to create messaging. Along the way, Avram discusses the intersection of art, social messaging, and activism.
The art represented in this captivating interview belongs to the ages, yet Avram makes it accessible and immediate. The video is highly recommended viewing for art lovers and HIV activists alike.