Silence = Death


In 1987, Avram Finkelstein, Brian Howard, Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff, Chris Lione, and Jorge Socarrás founded the SILENCE=DEATH Project to support one another in the midst of the AIDS crisis. Inspired by the posters of the Art Workers Coalition and the Guerrilla Girls (both of whose work is on view nearby), they mobilized to spread the word about the epidemic and created the now-iconic Silence=Death poster featuring the pink triangle as a reference to Nazi persecution of LGBTQ people in the 1930s and 1940s. It became the central visual symbol of AIDS activism after it was adopted by the direct action advocacy group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP).

HIV and AIDS remain a global health issue, with nearly 40 million people living with HIV at the end of 2017. Communities of color continue to face disproportionate effects of the disease as well as barriers to treatment. Today, ACT UP remains dedicated to their original 1987 slogan: ACT UP! FIGHT BACK! FIGHT AIDS!