AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: That's correct. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: —and a fuchsia triangle. In 1986, Avram Finkelstein was 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, later donated to ACT UP. So the smaller text was for the intimate encounter. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: And because I do these workshops where —Flash Collectives, I call them—where I assemble a limited duration collective to mount a public project. Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project (6) Fialho, Alex, 1989- (3) Smithsonian Folklife Festival (3) Smithsonian Institution. We did a banner for the Henry Street Settlement, it was in the AIDS Democracy Show, it was like that—. So that's the context, also. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: So how many people is the medication not going to work on, and how many people aren't going to be able to get it? And, because I knew Mark—at the opening of the New Museum window, I was there at the opening. And you were not—you were not involved in working on that. It's a terrible thing to be in that freefall. It's like writing is reading. And I thought it would be good if you could read the texts from Silence = Death, and then from the AIDSGATE one. What year was that solo show of yours? AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: Stationed on the same—. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: We did it—we decided—we tried as much as possible to work in coalition with other people doing work around HIV/AIDS—. And I think it was June 1st or 5th. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: I must have been 4 to 6 years old, somewhere in there. CYNTHIA CARR: Yeah, right. Because there's something very funny about, you know, a work taken out of the streets of New York without context and being told that it was significant, but you would have no way to know any of that if you weren't there. They're overwhelmed by what to do about it, and if they're given a way in, in my experience, people have a lot to say about it, and really intelligent stuff, and really cool stuff, and really smart stuff to say about it. I became very interested in palmistry, and I was just—I was trying to figure out which my lifeline was and how long it was. And a lot of it had to do with Ronald Reagan, and in fact Mary Berry, who at the time was one of the civil rights commissioners under Meese—. He said, "We'll mount them on foam core. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: It was a little like, "It's your public responsibility as an HIV-positive person for the good of the entire social health of HIV,"—as though HIV-negatives have no power or control over their own sexual conduct. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: And, shortly after the—my boyfriend at the time died, which was the following—within two months. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: And it sort of made us feel somewhat cowed about working outside of our own context —. I feel terrible to think that there are young people who don't have—who've never experienced that. As a surface designer, he created the Tom of Finland Toile for Dirty Linens. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: —when we were looking for something for the FDA action. Avram has 13 jobs listed on their profile. CYNTHIA CARR: Yeah. And everyone just like, "Yes. I worked with Tom Kalin and Mark Harrington—and Don Moffett I think was in and out of that on the Read My Lips poster. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: Late 1984 [1985–AF], sorry. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: And I think that the difference between the two bloody hands, the smaller ones that went after Koch and Joseph, was they were—that they were very much from an outsider's perspective. I used to go to games at Shea with a couple of gay male friends, so I know that there are many gay fans, actually. And he was the art director at Art and Antiques at that time. CYNTHIA CARR: Or talk about it, you know. And we didn't like it. CYNTHIA CARR: Boy, I never realized that it was—that everything was painted over, like, probably every day or every few hours. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: And that stayed up through the Tompkins Square riots. "You cannot say this. And I feel like what I'm learning from the Flash Collective, and I've done—you know, I'm getting close to 20 of them so far—is that I'm—each time I'm astonished by the level of incisiveness and clarity and engagement. It's a story of the system changing to adapt to its citizenry. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: And a friend of mine gave me Jill Posener's book Spray It Loud, which was about advertising, and interventions into advertising spaces in the U.K. by women activists. What about other gay groups that—this is before ACT UP. [Affirmative.]. CYNTHIA CARR: Uh-huh. I mean that must—. It was like an erotic fantasy, and, you know, I was so sort of overwhelmed by what he was telling me—about what this actually—what I was actually looking at. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: So, in a certain respect, I think that TAG and Gran Fury are direct parallels. We talked about all of that stuff. It is towards the beginning of this interview that Avram Finkelstein, in his therapeutic geniality, elicits a confession from me: the confession of my frustration. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: But that isn't actually what happened. It just had no—. And then the lines and modifying text on that went to the tune of—I could pull the poster out if you—uh, later So, we could get the text into the record, if you'd like. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: —all three of these patterns. So, when you made this poster you were—ACT UP had already started. It didn't pass. THE SHED INTERVIEW The Shed. He was also a musician, Jorge Socarras, and I knew him before. You didn't have to have a plan. And he said, "Well, we should really spell those out." Because we live in a culture flooded with images, we think we know everything there is to know about them, even if we’re not trained to consider them critically. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: So there's a lot about queer resistance that you don't get to hear. We were all going to bring in images. The other thing we did on that day was create a Tumblr page, which you can do in five minutes. I can see that. So I—you know, the half of me that's very grateful to still talk about this body of work, and I know it's very meaningful to people—my hair's a little on fire about how we—what that—how that positions us to think about HIV/AIDS going forward, throwing up our hands and just saying, "You know, we did these great things and now there are protease inhibitors." Uh-huh. CYNTHIA CARR: None of them were a part of it? It's the world I traveled in. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: So a lot of their—a lot of the—there's a dress with motifs on it that's hanging on the wall. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: Yeah. Finkelstein describes himself as a "red diaper baby", raised by leftist parents who encouraged him to develop an interest in radical politics. And we basically—the area of lower Manhattan where the New Museum was, was originally a mixed class, working class area. CYNTHIA CARR: Yeah. CYNTHIA CARR: Well, just to follow up on what happened in Chicago where—when this poster was—this is along the el line, the CTA, the Chicago Transit Authority, the el—, CYNTHIA CARR: And there's a poster here on the platform which was defaced. Was it a big group or—. I felt like in the midst of this crisis where people's lives were on the line, once you create the idea that something is being done about it and cultural production does that, we were—we were already being, as we were making it, extolled as these, you know, this voice of resistance. It was defaced and it was—. CYNTHIA CARR: I see. But Gran Fury decided that—because I felt like it didn't make any sense at all to just say, "Kissing doesn't kill. But, again, we did a billboard for the U-Bahn stations—that needed to be produced and finished. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: So there was a certain amount of levity and hilarity. We went on to do these three projects. I realized that this—the thing that I was being anonymous about; this group might be it. I have different strategies for working through the size of the collectives, and a lot of it depends on the—again, it's a, you know, a curated exercise. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: Yes. Whose body matters?" And so I was there with Heidi Dorrow, and we're wheatpasting them. I was on a panel with Robert Vazquez-Pacheco from Gran Fury, and … Of which we are a part. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: He was all about color, and in fact I think Jorge has some of the sketches that we did on that night of playing with color, but Chris and I felt really strongly—I wanted it to—I had this idea that in order to create the illusion that we were more organized than we were, and we'd gone through many conversations about how didactic it should be, and I wanted it to be a manifesto, because they were such complicated issues, and Charles was like, "No. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: —and you know; it was—it was a moment of some disorienting failures. CYNTHIA CARR: But they can say we didn't do it. AVRAM FINKELSTEIN: Well, because I worked for an English company, I spent a tremendous amount of time in the U.K. And he said, "No. CYNTHIA CARR: You were talking about the image that's still being used. We heard that people saw people on the subways reading the New York Times with our pages wrapped around them. 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