Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster – San Francisco Bay Times


By Michele Karlsberg –

Michele Carlsburg: Forty years ago, a mysterious debilitating illness initially associated with indiscriminate sex and intravenous substance use became a global pandemic and became the focus of large public health campaigns and activist communities. Now, a new publication by RIT Press documents the power and impact of about 200 examples of AIDS education posters from around the world, as well as the social activities that continue to bring awareness of the disease without vaccines or cures. ..

Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and AIDS Poster Visually appealing and socially meaningful from over 8,000 posters edited by Donald Albrecht, Jessica Lacher-Feldman, William M. Valenti and MD and stored in the undergraduate collection of the University of Rochester’s River Campus Library. We provide nearly 200 examples of a poster. Rare books, special collections, and preservation.

This kind of collection is one of the largest in the world and was donated to the University of Rochester by Dr. Edward Atwater. This book is attached to the exhibition of AIDS educational posters exhibited at the University of Rochester Memorial Museum from March 6th to June 19th, 2022.

Years of posters from 1982 to the present show how social, religious, civil and public health agencies tackle the controversial and often contested terrain of the HIV / AIDS pandemic within the public sphere. It shows the terrain. Organizations and creators tailor their messages to viewers, both broad and very specific, using humor, emotions, horror tactics, brief scientific explanations, sexual images, and many other methods. And I tried to communicate strongly and effectively.

Michele Karlsberg: Why are posters important now?

Jessica Ratcher-Feldman: The poster is important in so many ways. The fact that it has grown in 76 languages ​​and dialects from over 8000 countries and 130 countries requires how different communities, different organizations, governments, groups and individuals respond to and share HIV / AIDS. I think it shows if there is. Information effectively. The poster as an individual artifact reflects so many things, such as language, images, and communication methods. What does compassion, education, inspiration, and anger look like? And how do you find a way to express those feelings in an urgent and effective way?

Messages, audiences, and images vary widely, but it is an honor and privilege to analyze and digest the urgency of a global and deadly pandemic, either in groups or individually. We are still living with HIV / AIDS, so it can be difficult to work with this collection every day. This recent history is sometimes emotionally exhausting, but it continues to inspire the power of posters as a lens to understand how words and images can influence and shape thoughts and actions. The poster remains important and is always used in so many different ways. And we made them all available online for free. This allows us to provide such a unique and global collection to viewers around the world.

Michele Karlsberg: Why is it important for the younger generation to understand what happened in the meantime?

Jessica Ratcher-Feldman: Dr. Atwater, who created this collection, started with one poster in 1990 and created more than 8,000 posters between 1990 and 2019 when he died, and regarded the poster as social history. I agree too. The very large number of posters shows how urgent it was, making people aware of their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe, sharing compassion, dispelling myths, and hope. Is to give. The younger generation needs to understand and hope that the COVID-19 lens will make a difference. We hope that the AIDS pandemic will continue to be the responsibility of all of us to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy. By approaching this very recent history from the myriad perspectives we can see regarding HIV / AIDS, we gain a deeper understanding of the complexity and tragedy of this devastating illness.

More information about books and exhibits

Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in promoting the LGBTQ + community. This year, Carlsberg celebrates 33 years of her successful marketing campaign. For more information: https://www.michelekarlsberg.com

Published February 24, 2022


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