Beautiful Trouble is a crash course in the emerging field of carnivalesque realpolitik, both elegant and incendiary.”

Naomi Klein, author of No Logo & The Shock Doctrine

Gran Fury

Gran Fury formed after members of ACT-UP came together in 1987 to create the art installation “Let the Record Show….” In the New Museum’s window on Broadway they displayed a neon sign reading “SILENCE=DEATH” underneath a pink triangle. This is today perhaps the emblem most associated with ACT-UP and AIDS activism in general. Several ACT-UP members decided to continue creating visuals and worked continuously from 1988 to 1994 as Gran Fury, named after the Plymouth automobile favored by the New York City Police Department. Their posters and printed ads intervened in public spaces widely covered by the media and were soon largely accepted and funded by the institutional art world. Examples are the “Kissing Doesn’t Kill” (1989) poster series Gran Fury plastered on NYC buses, depicting kissing couples of mixed race and sex along with the words “Kissing Doesn’t Kill: Greed and Indifference Do.” For the forty-fourth Venice Biennale they created two controversial pieces: one of the pope, and the adjacent image of a gigantic erect penis titled “Sexism Rears Its Unprotected Head.”

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