Marlene McCarty — Gran Fury

Marlene McCarty is one of several graphic design artists involved in a collaborative called Gran Fury. The projects these designers took part in were for advocating for the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s, when the disease was slowly getting more attention. Gran Fury was the “most institutionalized group that used visual means to fight the [AIDS] epidemic” (Hkaap, 2016). These artists banned together to spread powerful messages to the masses. With the power of this art, being involved in the project was a huge stepping stone for Marlene’s career into using art to spread awareness for social issues. The art created by these people consisted of graphic posters with “bold graphic design [and] guerrilla dissemination tactics” that were published all around New York City in response to insensitivity and ignorance towards the epidemic (d’Addario, 2011). By directly addressing the public, the graphics are calling out to their exact audience. The artists wanted to bring attention and awareness to the AIDS problems occurring at the time, and used very distinct graphics to portray their messages. While some of the images seem relatively simple, by reading the text on them the ideas come across as clear as possible, like in the “Silence = Death” neon light sign that was created. The posters used techniques such as photomontage, color vibration, and clip art to portray the stories on prints that would be hung up or posted in various areas. Properly educating the public while advocating for the end to the stigmatization of AIDS seems to have been the overall goal of Gran Fury.


"Silence = Death"

Gran Fury, “Let the Record Show … ” (1987). Installation view, New Museum, New York City (via


Gran Fury, “AIDSgate” (1987) (via

"Kissing Doesn't Kill: Greed and Indifference Do."

Gran Fury, “Kissing Doesn’t Kill: Greed and Indifference Do”, 1989 (via



Hkaap, V. (2016, October 20). Gran Fury. Retrieved from


d’Addario, J. (2011, December 1). AIDS, Art and Activism: Remembering Gran Fury. 

Retrieved from