Public Art and Activism: 1980s to Today

Monday, June 3, 2019, 6:30 - 8pm

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Gran Fury, Women Don't Get AIDS They Just Die From It, 1991. Presented by Public Art Fund 1/1/1991 – 4/30/1991, photo: Tim Karr, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY

Gran Fury, Women Don't Get AIDS They Just Die From It, 1991. Presented by Public Art Fund 1/1/1991 – 4/30/1991, photo: Tim Karr, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY

This June, Public Art Fund will present the seminal billboard “Untitled”, 1989 by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (American, b. Cuba, 1957-1996) to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and WorldPride in New York City. Public Art Fund originally organized the project in 1989, when Gonzalez-Torres first installed this work on the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. Thirty years later, the work will be shown in its original location: Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, above Village Cigars and across from the historic Stonewall Inn bar. 

On the occasion of this project, on June 3 Public Art Fund will hold a panel discussion on public art and activism spanning almost 40 years. The panel will feature pioneering artists and activists whose practice and work in the public realm addresses social mobilization and advocacy for human rights.    

Registration is required.

About the speakers:

Joy Episalla is an interdisciplinary artist whose work pushes photography and the moving image into the territory of sculpture. A longtime AIDS activist, Episalla is a board member of TAG Treatment Action Group and a founding member of the queer women artists’ collective fierce pussy. Formed in New York City in 1991 through their involvement in AIDS activism during a decade of increasing political mobilization around LGBT rights, fierce pussy brought lesbian identity and visibility directly into the streets. The collective continues to work together today.

Avram Finkelstein, co-founder of the group Silence=Death Project, which created the "Silence=Death" anti-AIDS logo to combat institutional silence surrounding homophobia and HIV/AIDS, and member of the art collective Gran Fury. In 1991, Public Art Fund organized the exhibition Gran Fury: Women Don't Get AIDS They Just Die From It, a project aimed to raise awareness for the need for increased AIDS education and health care.

Paola Mendoza, co-founder and Artistic Director of the first Women's March on Washington. She is a film director, activist, and author working at the leading edge of human rights.

The conversation will be moderated by Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art Fund. 

Public Art Fund Talks are presented in partnership with The Cooper Union

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.