When I observed in our 1991 BOMB interview “that after the AIDS crisis is over, I’ll be happy to talk endlessly about when we started, why we did this, and how it fits in,” I didn’t imagine I would end up doing exactly that, dedicating my practice as an artist and a writer to the inherent frailties of the AIDS historiography (which was already under construction during our conversation with Robert Gober) and the many ways AIDS counternarratives would be tucked under the shadows of more dominant cultural storytelling.
And now, our twenty-first-century image commons has further torqued the story of AIDS into a Möbius landscape of non-orientability in which the cultural production of Gran Fury—flat-footed by design as to be more accessible—is re-rendered in ways that are increasingly abstract. The work is held up as an example of effective communication, and when analyzed in relation to its time and place, it is. But without an ever-deepening historical context, this body of work is not necessarily self-explanatory nor useful without expansive or probative inquiry.
Fortunately, we’re uniquely poised in an evanescent cultural moment in which a new generation of artists, activists, archivists, and scholars can critically explore the meaning of this history with those of us who survived it. In my view, intergenerational consideration layers new meanings over our work, which I believe is the true measure of the efficacy of any cultural production. And contemporizing its use is the point of its study.
Gran Fury were interviewed by Robert Gober in BOMB 34 (Winter 1991). Read it here.