Dark Mode

About Days of Rage

Days of Rage is a web exhibition that enlivens historical activist posters from ONE Archives at the USC Libraries through tactile analysis and storytelling. Grounded in the experiences of activists and graphic designers Alan Bell, Daniel Hyo Kim, Chandi Moore, Silas Munro, Judy Ornelas Sisneros, and Jordan Peimer, the exhibition positions LGBTQ+ graphic design as embodied in community realities and histories, producing subjective reflections on the interdependence of design and activism. In assembling the exhibition, these community experts chose five posters from the recently digitized poster collection at ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. Over a sequence of stylized videos that emphasize the choreography of their hands, the invited experts reflect on their selections, allowing the posters to guide ruminations on design language, community responsiveness, erasure and history, and the affiliative force of activist politics. Their hands, voices, and memories serve as interpretive guides in transmitting knowledge, thereby queering the mode in which graphic design is displayed–which is so often static and wall-bound. From bold graphic declarations of community activation to explicit safer sex health campaigns, the posters discussed run the affective gamut, bringing up powerful feelings of rage, joy, and sorrow. Days of Rage privileges this associative and sometimes aleatory interpretation of design, and finds profound value in its capacity to serve as a roiling, continuous link to a shared sense of LGBTQ+ ancestry and struggle.

The exhibition is curated by Andy Campbell, Associate Professor Critical Studies at the Roski School of Design, University of Southern California (USC), and co-curated by Tracy Fenix and Austen Villacis, current students in Roski’s Curatorial Practices and the Public Sphere graduate program.

This project is organized by ONE Archives Foundation, made possible by a grant from Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture. The digitization of over 4200 posters in ONE’s collections was made possible by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Digitizing Hidden Collections program.

About ONE Archives Foundation

Founded in 1952, ONE Archives Foundation is the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States, and is dedicated to telling the accurate stories and history of all LGBTQ people and their culture. As an independent nonprofit, ONE Archives Foundation promotes ONE Archives at the USC Libraries — the largest repository of LGBTQ materials in the world — and provides innovative educational initiatives, public exhibitions, and community programs. The curatorial and educational choices made by ONE Archives Foundation are guided by our commitment to social equity and justice. We engage with the complexity of LGBTQ history and representation through highlighting the intersectional and authentic narratives of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), women, gender-nonconforming and transgender people, people of various abilities, youth, and elders across all socio-economic classes.


About Protest Sign Font

The Protest Sign Font utilized on the Days of Rage exhibition website is created by GenderFail. GenderFail is a publishing, programing and archiving platform run solely by Be Oakley. The font is licensed for noncommercial usage.


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For inquiries about the exhibit, contact Umi Hsu, Director of Content Strategy at ONE Archives Foundation.

AIDSPHOBIA: Protect Yourself from Hollywood

Designer: Jordan Peimer and Joshua Wells
Year: 1991
Dimesions: 74 x 59 cm

As with the previous posters this was produced in two formats: as a heavy placard intended for carrying, and as a lighter sheet for wheat-pasting. Thus the poster appeared on the streets in the days leading up to the annual academy awards, and during the event itself, when a protester interrupted the proceedings with shouts of “a hundred thousand dead from AIDS!” 

AIDSPHOBIA: Protect Yourself from Hollywood features the recognizable “Oscar” statuette—Dorothy Malone’s best supporting actress award from Written on the Wind (1956)—with a condom placed over its head and shoulders. At this time representations of the AIDS pandemic were limited to a made-for-television drama An Early Frost (1985), and the film Longtime Companion (1989), for which Bruce Davison garnered a nomination for a best supporting actor.

ACT UP felt that the lack of interest on the part of a multi-million dollar industry in telling stories connected to the current pandemic was unconscionable, and aimed to garner visible support for their cause, in part, by passing out bedazzled “Silence = Death” buttons to the arriving stars. 

Image: Josh Wells and Jordan Peimer for ACT UP/LA, “AIDSPHOBIA: Protect Yourself from Hollywood,” 1991. LGBTQ Poster Collection, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries.

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