Contemporary Art from the Collection

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General Idea. AIDS (Wallpaper). 1988

Certificate for screenprinted wallpaper.
Sheet: 11 x 8 1/2" (27.9 x 21.6 cm)
Gift of Richard Gerrig and Timothy Peterson in celebration of the Museum's reopening
© 2010 General Idea Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

AA BRONSON: My name is A.A. Bronson. We were invited in '87 to create a work for a fundraiser or the American Foundation for AIDS Research and it was the first fundraiser they ever did. We produced a six-foot-square painting that looked like a single one of these logos. And once we had done that, it sort of took over our lives. A few months later we produced a poster, which we put on the streets of New York and then on the streets of San Francisco. And then on the streets of a whole bunch of other cities.

I guess the wallpaper came about because we started doing installations of the posters in galleries and museums and at art fairs as well as on the street. And it became evident that it would be much easier if we just produced it as wallpaper.

Now obviously, it's based on the Robert Indiana Love image. It uses the same colors and the same type and the same formation. Our idea was that this was a kind of advertising campaign for a disease that nobody wanted to talk about at the time. It was being kind of hushed up.

The echo of the word “love” comes through in the background. And I do think actually that AIDS transformed the relationship of the gay community to the straight community. In the amazing amount of coming together there was, in fact, this kind of flood of love that came into the world.

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