Early AIDS Activism Posters on Display at Old Hamburger Haven Location

Early AIDS activism posters and graphics on display on side of Hamburger Haven building.

The old Hamburger Haven has turned into an art gallery of sorts.

During December, that now shuttered hamburger stand on the southwest corner of Santa Monica and Robertson boulevards, is displaying old AIDS activism posters.

“It’s Not Over: Posters and Graphics from Early AIDS Activism”is curated from the collection of the ONE Archives, the world’s largest LGBTQ archive, housed on the University of Southern California campus.

The outdoor display on the side of Hamburger Haven building collects replicas of some of the most provocative images from that era of the 1980s and early 1990s.

This is when AIDS posters were fighting homophobia, confronting AIDS stigma and challenging institutional indifference to the plague the gay community was facing. This is also when the posters were educating people about safer sex and motivating people to speak up and become activists.

Early AIDS activism graphics on display.

Among exhibit’s 29 images are replicas of flyers from the first ACT-UP LA meeting in 1987, picket signs from historic protests in Los Angeles and New York, safer sex campaigns, World AIDS Day and Day Without Art posters.

“Political graphics from early AIDS activism exemplify boldness, resilience, and compassion,” Umi Hsu, a co-curator of the exhibit and director of content at the ONE Archives Foundation, said in a statement. “Each poster is a provocation. Each flyer is a story. Each picket sign is an embodiment of how people came together to fight for dignity and justice.”

Several of the works are by artist Keith Haring, who came to national prominence in the 80s, before his death in 1990 at age 31 from AIDS complications. Haring created a style of pop art based on street graffiti which was eye catching and provocative.

It includes Haring’s “Stop The Church” poster, which confronted homophobic attitudes of the Catholic Church. It also includes his “No on 64” poster in response to Proposition 64 which would have classified AIDS as a communicable disease and thereby set up the LGBTQ community for greater persecution.

The Hamburger Haven hamburger stand has been closed for over a year. The property is now owned by Faring, the WeHo-based real estate development company. The property, and the adjacent Bossa Nova restaurant property, is slated to become part of a two-story complex with restaurants, shops and a subterranean nightclub.

While that development awaits approval, Faring agreed to let ONE Archives display the AIDS posters on the side of Hamburger Haven. The display initially went up for World AIDS Day and is currently slated to stay up through the end of December, but may be displayed longer than that.

“Our team at Faring is proud to again partner with ONE Archives to commemorate West Hollywood’s unique history of LGBTQ+ activism,” said Jake Stevens, Faring’s Director of Community Engagement. “As seen in our work at the French Market and Studio One/The Factory, Faring is committed to preserving and celebrating what makes WeHo special.”

The ONE Archives has set up a database with background information about each poster in the “It’s Not Over” display. CLICK HERE to access that database.

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John Erickson
John Erickson
29 days ago

Really great seeing this around town!

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
29 days ago
Reply to  John Erickson

AIDS posters?

Know your city
Know your city
29 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

You often post opinions with little understanding of the history of the city or the people who’ve helped develop it over the years. These posters celebrate activism. It reminds people to stay engaged and involved which means doing more than posting snarky comments. Back when the AIDS crisis was raging, the LGBTQ community could not get the critical support needed to treat the epidemic that hit their community the hardest. A strong group of people banded together here in Los Angeles and fought for their rights. West Hollywood was born out of that activism. So yes, it is good to… Read more »

Jay
Jay
29 days ago
Reply to  Know your city

Hi Know your city-

Thank you for schooling Ham Shipey (and all of us).

And while it is wonderful we suddenly have multiple, highly effective, Covid-19 vaccines, one can’t help but wonder why an AIDS vaccine has not been similarly prioritized.

John Erickson
John Erickson
28 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Ham – I have no idea who you are but this type of art reminds us of the history of our city, who helped develop it over the years, and to ensure our legacy lives on and is remembered. Our continued push to acknowledge and remember our history is critical and this type of art installation is great to see around town. I’d ask you to remind yourself about what’s the point of your comment and if you’d like to be involved, reach out and be part of a solution versus posting snarky comments. It gets no one anywhere, especially… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
27 days ago
Reply to  John Erickson

You like seeing AIDS posters….in the middle of a Covid pandemic. I don’t.

Jay
Jay
29 days ago
Reply to  John Erickson

Hi again John and good to see you back in Wehoville as promised!

It’s nice to see Faring and One Archives working together to bring greater visibility to their important collection of AIDS graphics while papering over an eyesore.

Back in the spring, I suggested the city might work with merchants who had boarded up their businesses to cover them with art as well.

Wishing you a safe holiday season and congratulations on your heightened role in West Hollywood’s governance!