Wolfsonian Receives Donation of Over 3,600 AIDS-Themed Posters

  • Image Courtesy of International Poster Gallery

    Image Courtesy of International Poster Gallery

  • Image Courtesy of International Poster Gallery

    Image Courtesy of International Poster Gallery

(MIAMI BEACH, FL) The Wolfsonian–Florida International University is the recipient of a donation from Henry S. Hacker of more than 3,600 AIDS-themed posters from over eighty countries, produced between 1985 and 2010.  To mark this major museum gift, The Wolfsonian–Florida International University presents the touring exhibition “Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters 1985–2010”, May 11 through September 9, 2012.   For more information visit the museum's website at www.wolfsonian.org.


"Graphic Intervention" explores the role the poster has played in global efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS and promote awareness and safe sex education.  The exhibition was organized by Massachusetts College of Art and Design.  The exhibition was largely drawn from the collection of James Lapides, owner of International Poster Gallery (www.InternationalPoster.com) in Boston.   Lapides' entire collection was purchased by Hacker from International Poster Gallery with the purpose of permanently preserving this remarkable collection.


 “I’m thrilled that this powerful exhibition has and will continue to tour the country, and that the entire collection has now found a permanent home at an institution as renowned as the Wolfsonian,” comments Lapides.  “In addition to their resonant public health messages, these posters are a way of remembering those who have died due to AIDS – a graphic quilt of a different kind. International Poster Gallery is proud to have played a role in collecting and preserving this aspect of the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the most significant global health crisis in recent history."


Lapides had acquired a portion of the collection in 1999 from a European collector, and then worked with collaborators and International Poster Gallery's wide network of poster collectors and resources for more than a decade to augment it. 


 “I think this is an amazing collection that over the years will be a very special research tool,” notes Hacker. 


The touring exhibition "Graphic Intervention" showcases over 150 posters from forty-four countries, presenting a comprehensive overview of the diverse visual strategies employed by government agencies, community activists, grassroots organizations, and motivated citizens to educate the local population in response to HIV/AIDS.  Almost all of the posters included in "Graphic Intervention" are part of the donation to The Wolfsonian.


Posters have played a special role in conveying information about the HIV/AIDS virus. The offerings in the exhibition include a diverse mix of cultural messages from around the world.  The posters originate from countries as varied as Papua New Guinea, India, China, Denmark, and the United States, and provide a fascinating overview of the wide-ranging visual and messaging strategies employed in response to HIV/AIDS.


These posters are a significant addition to The Wolfsonian’s growing holdings on health and hygiene.  The museum has placed an emphasis in recent years on increasing its collection in this area, and has extended the museum's typical timeframe to in order to continually explore the ways in which design reflects and shapes human experience with issues that are of core concern to society.


"Graphic Intervention" was curated by Elizabeth Resnick, professor and chair of graphic design at Mass Art, and Javier Cortés, partner and creative director at Korn Design, Boston, in collaboration with James Lapides of the International Poster Gallery in Boston.  Additional information on the exhibition is available at www.GraphicIntervention.org.



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