Exhibition "Gran Fury: art is not enough"

Fri23February(Feb 23)10:00sun09Jun(jun 9)20:00Exhibition "Gran Fury: art is not enough"Curated by André Mesquita, curator, MASP, and assisted by David Ribeiro, supervisor, MASP, the exhibition brings together 76 works, including photocopies and digital prints on paper.MASP, Avenida Paulista, 1578, Sao Paulo


O MASP presents the show Gran Fury: art is not enough, which occupies the gallery located in the first basement of the museum. Curated by Andre Mosque, curator, MASP, and assistance from David Ribeiro, supervisor, MASP, the exhibition brings together 77 works, including photocopies and digital prints on paper. The exhibition discusses the limits and scope of the Gran Fury collective's graphic campaigns, as well as the idea of ​​art as a strategy in the activist field, driven by queer people, to increase awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Gran Fury (New York, 1988—1995) was a collective of artists considered a reference for artistic activism practices in the 1980s and 1990s, which emerged from the organization ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power). Unleash the Power], comprised of individuals and affinity groups dedicated to critically publicizing the United States government's silence and neglect regarding HIV/AIDS. Gran Fury produced graphic campaigns and public interventions around issues related to the HIV/AIDS crisis, visually serving ACT UP in protests and civil disobedience actions. The collective ended its activities in 1995, and its archive is located at the New York Public Library.

For much of its history, Gran Fury included Avram Finkelstein, Donald Moffett, John Lindell, Loring McAlpin, Mark Simpson (1950-1996), Marlene McCarty, Michael Nesline, Richard Elovich, Robert Vazquez-Pacheco and Tom Kalin. The group described itself as “a band of individuals united in anger and committed to exploring the power of art to end the AIDS crisis.” Its members refused to come out as artists or appear as individual creators and wanted to escape established art spaces.

The title of the MASP Arte is not enough exhibition is inspired by the phrase “With 42,000 Dead, Art Is Not Enough” (42), written by the collective. The sentence came when the independent experimental art and performance institution The Kitchen, in New York, invited the collective to make the cover of the space's calendar, which responded with a poster containing the statement, followed by the conclusion “Take Collective Direct Action to End the Aids Crisis.”

“Gran Fury is part of an activist history of the politicized use of communication tools and the subversion of dominant images and discourses, opening up territory for what in the 1990s became known among activist art collectives and social movements as 'media tactic', which is the production of a new type of aesthetics by groups and individuals oppressed or excluded from general culture, working with expanded forms of cultural distribution and semiotic intervention in the streets, using different visual supports”, explains curator André Mosque.

Among the actions produced by the group is the creation The New York Crimes (1989), which consisted of printing thousands of fake copies of a four-page newspaper with texts from ACT UP, containing its own news and dense graphics. In this work, the group imitates the graphic elements on the cover of The New York Times. s. The New York Crimes corrected the identity and misleading information in the traditional New York newspaper's coverage of the disease, for example that HIV control had already stabilized. At the time, Gran Fury and ACT UP activists took to the streets of New York during the early hours of the morning, opened the boxes of The New York Times, removed the copies and replaced the front pages with the fake newspaper.

Em Kissing Doesn't Kill [Kissing Doesn't Kill] (1989-90), Gran Fury diverted the corporate multiculturalism of the well-known campaigns of the Italian clothing company Benetton, subverting its visual and semantic codes and its visual seduction, to display photographs of three interracial couples kissing. The poster was installed as a panel on the sides of buses and subway stations in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Washington DC, in the United States. His image, also replicated in short videos produced by the collective, did not sell a product, but challenged the misinterpretation of kissing as risky behavior, since, at that time, saliva was seen as a fluid supposedly capable of transmitting HIV.

“The non-advertising Kissing Doesn't Kill billboard effects what, in the 1990s, became popular as Culture Jamming through the subversion, manipulation or symbolic disruption of advertising messages in the media and in urban space”, explains Mesquita.

The guarantee of care and respect for all people with HIV was addressed in a poster with the phrase All People With AIDS Are Innocent (1988), breaking the moral paradigm that some people deserved the hiv/AIDS more than others. The Gran Fury poster determined an immediate change in society's thinking to respect, without hierarchies, all people living with HIV/AIDS, who must have the right to receive equal care and assistance.

According to curator André Mesquita, “saying that 'art is not enough' does not mean permanently abandoning art in favor of activism, or pointing out the ineffectiveness of an artistic practice for social transformation. On the contrary, Gran Fury's statement proposes that it is no longer enough to make art about the crisis, but that moments of crisis are also revolutionary moments of radical imagination and confrontation of hegemonic and oppressive systems”. “His graphic work provokes us to think about the need and urgency for artists, activists and cultural agents to articulate themselves as a solidary political force towards direct action, walking alongside protest movements”, he concludes.

Gran Fury: art is not enough is part of MASP's annual program dedicated to Stories of LGBTQIA+ diversity. This year the program also includes exhibitions by Francis Bacon, Mário de Andrade, MASP Renner, Lia D Castro, Catherine Opie, Leonilson, Serigrafistas Queer and the large collective Stories of LGBTQIA+ diversity.

Exhibition | Gran Fury: art is not enough
From February 23rd to June 09th
Tuesday, from 10am to 20pm (entry until 19pm) · Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 18pm
(entrance until 17pm)


February 23, 2024 10:00 - June 9, 2024 20:00(GMT-03:00)



Avenida Paulista, 1578, Sao Paulo

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