Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster offers nearly 200 examples of visually arresting and socially meaningful posters, taken from more than 8,000 held in the collection in the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries’ Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation. The collection, one of the largest of its kind in the world, was donated to the University of Rochester by Dr. Edward Atwater. The book accompanies an exhibition of AIDS education posters displayed at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY.
The posters, spanning the years from 1982 to the present, show how social, religious, civic, and public health agencies have addressed the controversial, often contested terrain of the HIV/AIDS pandemic within the public realm. Organizations and creators tailored their messages to audiences, both broad and very specific, and used a wide array of strategies, employing humor, emotion, scare tactics, simple scientific explanations, sexual imagery, and many other methods to communicate powerfully and effectively.
Gold medalist in the 2022 Independent Publisher Book Awards, category: US Northeast – Best Regional Non-Fiction
Gold medalist in the 2022 Foreword INDIES Awards, category: Popular Culture
About the Editors
Donald Albrecht is an independent curator and author based in New York City. His exhibitions and books have ranged from overviews of cultural trends to profiles of individual designers, architects, and photographers. Jessica Lacher-Feldman is the exhibitions and special projects manager, and is the curator of record for the AIDS Education Posters Collection in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, at the University of Rochester. Dr. William M. Valenti is an infectious diseases specialist in Rochester, NY, and the co-founder of Community Health Network, now Trillium Health.
About the Exhibition
An exhibition of the same name was on view at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, March 6–June 19, 2022. Visit the MAG website to learn more.
A companion exhibition was on view at RIT University Gallery, March 14–April 8, 2022. Visit the University Gallery website to learn more.
Publisher: RIT Press (08/2021)
Illustrations: 187, mostly color
Size: 9 x 9 in.
Shipping Weight: 3lb
Find this book at RIT Libraries
The Daily Heller: AIDS Against the Wall
Bay Area Reporter: Visual AIDS: 'Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster'
University of Rochester: 8,000 ways to learn about AIDS
XTRA Magazine: The battle against AIDS was waged on the streets
CITY Magazine: Haunting HIV/AIDS posters are now art in new RIT Press book
WXXI News: New book and exhibit explore art, activism and AIDS
QueerForty: A look back at the power and impact of AIDS-era poster art
Plus Magazine: New Book and Exhibit Looks at the Evolution of HIV Poster Art
Art & Understanding: AIDS Education Posters Collection: Gallery
MIC: How Posters Birthed An Entire AIDS Activism Movement
Channel Q: The Morning Beat, February 15, 2022 (starts 25 minutes into program)
Memorial Art Gallery and the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester: Memorial Art Gallery and River Campus Libraries Receive RACF & NEA Grants to Support Upcoming Collaborative Exhibit, Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster
RIT News: RIT Press publishes Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster
Independent Publisher: 2022 "IPPY" Medalists
Table of Contents
Jonathan Binstock and Mary Ann Mavrinac
Preface: Locating AIDS in an Image Commons xi
Introduction: A Historical Perspective 1
Worlds of Signification: Power and Subjectivity in Global AIDS Posters 9
Jennifer Brier and Matthew Wizinsky
Poster Portfolio 25
Introduction by Ian Bradley-Perrin
Curated by Donald Albrecht
The Collection 203
Afterword: Ending AIDS: Or How to Manage an Epidemic 209
William M. Valenti, M.D.
Advisory Board 216