Tag Archives: Safe Sex

Safe Sex Bang!

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Many of us remember vividly the period in the 1980s and 90s when campaigns promoting safer sex practices developed, looking back on the visual materials from these campaigns has been both a moving experience of memory and an exciting new perspective of the work many of us did in that time. As these posters and other materials begin to pass in to something more like history than recent memory, we get to see them again. Thankfully, we can now see a little more of their artistry rather than only seeing the urgency that created their message.

These materials are of both cultural and artistic significance. They were often created by advertising and illustration professionals who were suddenly free to apply their best and most innovative ideas that may have been constrained by mainstream business. With the lives and health of their community at stake, and often their own, these artists brought all of their skill to bear on efforts to save lives.

The catalog will contain images of these collected materials, primarily posters, including safer sex campaigns from North America, Europe, and Oceania. We will also include an art historical essay by Alex Fialho as well as Alex’s interview of Buzz Bense about the collection he accumulated and a foreward by Dr. Carol Queen.

Please join us in producing this important volume of materials, both for the preservation of history and to communicate to the world more broadly the great power of the work so many did in desperate times. Your contribution is critical to our success. You will be rewarded at various levels with copies of the catalog, original posters (duplicates from the collection), CSC Library tote bags (it’s like we are PBS, no?), and even a personalized tour of the archive guided by our gallerist, Dorian Katz and CSC executive director Dr. Carol Queen.

CSC’s exhibition displaying nearly 100 of these safer sex posters from the Buzz Bense collection opens on November 8 at 7 pm, and runs through January 31st 2014.

– See more at: http://www.sexandculture.org/#sthash.W72ZWNqo.dpuf

CSC to publish Buzz Bense Safe Sex Poster Collection

SF AIDS Foundation

SF AIDS Foundation

Center for Sex and Culture’s Exhibition Catalog of Safer Sex Posters

The Center for Sex and Culture, located in San Francisco, is publishing an art exhibition catalog on our safer sex poster collection in conjunction with an exhibition displaying these posters at our gallery. The 2-month exhibition opens on November 8, 2013.

Buzz Bense, sex activist and graphic designer, donated over 150 unique posters to CSC last year. Bense has collected and produced safer-sex posters aimed at members of the LGBTQ community since the mid-1980s. Circulated at a time when the community was particularly hard-hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, these posters comprise a striking aesthetic collection of graphically innovative design that explicitly visualizes homosexuality, diverse LGBTQ communities and safer-sex activism.

SF AIDS Foundation

SF AIDS Foundation

Because of the cultural and historical significance of the posters, we are inspired to share these images and their story with people in the Bay Area and beyond. It is easy to forget details of recent history, especially when related to sexual history because it is less likely to be preserved. This project aims to preserve and share some of what might easily be lost. The book will contain over 20 color reproductions of posters, an introduction by CSC’s executive director, Dr. Carol Queen, and an essay by the New York based art historian and curator, Alex Fialho, and an interview between Buzz and Alex about the history of the collection. Alex has spent time in San Francisco and New York researching and interviewing the people who created these posters as activists, artists, community organizers, members of health organizations and independent graphics designers.

The collection consists of posters, primarily from San Francisco, but also encompasses other cities throughout the United States. It also includes international representations from Australia, Germany, Denmark, and Canada. This historical archive presents the visual means through which LGBTQ people passed on life saving information about safer-sex practices during the height of a health epidemic that continues to affect us today.

We are confident the exhibition and book will function as both an art historical survey of the importance of this collection of aesthetically beautiful and functionally informative posters as well as an educational endeavor engaging the LGBTQ community and beyond.

Brothers Network, SF

Brothers Network, SF

These posters do more than chart the tragedy of an epidemic, of an outsider community reeling from grief, loss, and the decimation of a blooming culture of sexual liberation. The history of these posters is a story of a fight against stigma, hatred and ignorance; of a community stepping up to take care of its own; of finding a way to extinguish fear and build pride and self-esteem; and of devoted efforts of committed activists to communicate a path to health and survival. -Buzz Bense

Please help FUND this worthy project – the inaugural book of CSC, and one we hope will be the first of many. Kickstarter campaign HERE.