Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

SF-based sex center seeks support for safe-sex poster catalog

Courtesy of the Buzz Bense Collection at the Center for Sex and Culture

Courtesy of the Buzz Bense Collection at the Center for Sex and Culture

The Center for Sex and Culture is seeking the public’s help in order to publish an exhibition catalog to accompany a new show it is mounting next month of historic safe-sex posters.

It is the first time that the San Francisco-based center has launched a crowdfunding pitch via Kickstarter, which can be seen here. The campaign aims to raise $7,000 by 6:06 p.m. November 5, and as of today (Wednesday, October 23) had netted more than $5,000 toward its goal.

The posters are part of the Buzz Bense Collection and nearly 100 of them will be put on public display in early November for a three-month-long show that will close January 31, 2014.

Bense co-founded the Castro-based safer sex club Eros, which he sold to new owners in 2005. Over the years he amassed a collection of 150 safe sex posters from various countries, such as Australia, Germany, Denmark, and Canada.

The majority were created by various San Francisco-based agencies. Bense, a sex activist and graphic designer himself, donated his collection to the sex center last year. Its founders Drs. Robert Morgan Lawrence and Carol Queen served with Bense on the Coalition for Healthy Sex.

According to center officials, Bense amassed one of the most significant safer sex and HIV/AIDS poster collections that exists today.

“Especially as a group, they are stunning – graphically, but also historically. Thirty years out from the beginning of the epidemic that changed – and ended – so many lives, CSC wants to add this collection to the available literature, show off some of these amazing posters, supplement the information about the epidemic, and launch CSC’s role in getting some of its more extraordinary materials out into the world,” center officials stated in a press release announcing the Kickstarter campaign.

According to the campaign’s description online, the book will contain more than 20 color reproductions of posters; an introduction by Queen; an essay by New York-based art historian and curator Alex Fialho; and an interview Fialho conducted with Bense about the history of the collection.

“Publishing this collection of posters and the accompanying essays is important for the preservation and understanding of our history,” stated Dorian Katz, the center’s gallerist.  “You don’t want the history of the AIDS epidemic written by the folks who write school textbooks in Texas, do you?”

— Matthew S. Bajko, October 23, 2013 @ 3:38 pm PST
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