Auto Italia, London, 02 October 2018 — 16 December 2018
Gran Fury
Read My Lips, 1990, Gran Fury. Courtesy of Gran Fury.
KISSING DOESN’T KILL, GREED AND INDIFFERENCE DO, 1989, Gran Fury. Installation view as part of Read My Lips, 2018, Auto Italia, London. Courtesy of Gran Fury. Photographer: ORIGINAL&theCOPY.
Read My Lips, 2018, Gran Fury. Auto Italia, London. Courtesy of Gran Fury. Photographer: ORIGINAL&theCOPY.
The Pope and the Penis, 1990, Gran Fury. Installation view as part of Read My Lips, 2018, Auto Italia, London. Courtesy of Gran Fury. Photographer: ORIGINAL&theCOPY.

Auto Italia is pleased to present Read My Lips, a survey exhibition of image-making, community activism and public works produced by the seminal AIDS activist art collective Gran Fury between 1987 and 1995.

Presented in the UK for the first time and on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the group’s formation, the exhibition will bring to light the critical, funny and scathing collective voice of Gran Fury, explored through a number of print works including billboard campaigns, public intervention works and guerrilla tactic protests originally staged across public spaces in New York.

Springing out of ACT UP in the late 1980s in downtown New York, Gran Fury bridged a gap between situationist site-specific art strategies, post-modern appropriation and the queer activist movement. Since the group’s emergence, their work has continued to be an influential cornerstone of queer activism, socially engaged artistic practice and health campaigning, defining the aesthetics of queer and AIDS activism in the late twentieth century.

The exhibition of this archive is an opportunity to revisit and rethink strategies of direct action, rights to protest and community organising available to artists and cultural institutions. It will explore the range of strategies Gran Fury employed to dismantle barriers to health provisions affecting queer and minority individuals; directly attacking conservative media, the Catholic Church and political organisations that blocked – and continue to oppose – change in public health policy in the US and internationally.

Taken as a whole, Read My Lips presents a history of political work and organising that opens up a broader spectrum of understanding around the aesthetics of political action and the legacies of AIDS activism, bringing together a rare collection of the group’s output that helped to convey the urgency of the early AIDS crisis and led to changes in public policy that saved lives.

With special thanks to Lily Hudson, Lenart Kirbis, Paola Koss, Kim Nicholson, Lawrence Prebble, Livier Sidabraite, Andrea Toro and Chloe Webster for bringing it to life.

In Conversation: Gran Fury and Richard John Jones
30 Sep 2018

Marlene McCarty and John Lindell are joined in conversation by Richard John Jones, to discuss the work and legacy of Gran Fury.

Technology Workshops for Young People in East London
22 Oct 2018 — 23 Oct 2018

An art and technology workshop for young people creating visual responses to the exhibition Read My Lips.

Readings in Response to the Archive of Gran Fury
15 Nov 2018, 19:00 — 21:00

An evening of readings, performances and sound works from Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Otamere Guobadia and Harley Yeung Kurylowski.

A House of Ecstatic Virality
01 Dec 2018, 19:00 — 21:00

A dance and movement event led by artist Carlos Maria Romero in collaboration with professionals and volunteers from METRO’s Emerging Communities Programme.

Gran Fury

Exhibition Publication: Read My Lips

Migros Museum

Exhibition brochure featured in 'United by AIDS' at Migros Museum


Make AIDS Visible: Gran Fury's Provoking Billboards


Gran Fury: ‘Read My Lips’


Gran Fury: Read My Lips


The art of protest


Gran Fury: Read My Lips

The Art Newspaper

Aids activists Gran Fury bring their rage to the UK in new show


Activists’s Subversion of ‘I’m Too Sexy To Have Aids’ Slogan Does Queer History a Disservice

Royal Holloway

Gran Fury: At the intersection of art, politics and public health


The Great Rage