Wednesday April 25, 2012, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.
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To commemorate the founding of ACT UP, the New Museum has installed SILENCE=DEATH (1987), a neon sign, in the New Museum’s window, facing the Bowery. ACT UP formed in March 1987 with the aim of bringing attention to the AIDS crisis and the federal government’s ignorance about the disease through direct political action. That same month, New Museum curator William Olander, himself a participant in ACT UP, invited members of the group to create an installation in the window of the New Museum’s downtown location at 583 Broadway. The result was the exhibition “Let the Record Show…” for which the SILENCE=DEATH sign was produced. The sign was last installed on December 1, 2007 at the New Museum on the occasion of the annual Day With(out) Art/World AIDS Day coinciding with the Museum’s Thirtieth Anniversary and grand opening of its SANAA-designed building on the Bowery. The installation of SILENCE=DEATH reaffirms the New Museum’s past, current, and future commitment to community action towards ending the AIDS pandemic.