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Fierce Pussy (also styled fierce pussy) is a lesbian feminist art activist collective founded in 1991 in New York City. It is committed to art action in association with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.
In 1991, a group of New York City lesbians formed 'fierce pussy' to address issues of lesbian identity and visibility. All of its members were involved in AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) to fight the AIDS pandemic. Low-tech and low budget, the collective responded to the urgency of those years, using readily available resources: old typewriters, found photographs, their own baby pictures, and the printing supplies and equipment accessible in their day jobs.
Originally fierce pussy was composed of a fluid and often shifting cadre of dykes including Pam Brandt, Jean Carlomusto, Donna Evans, Alison Froling, and Suzanne Wright. Many other women came to an occasional meeting, and joined in to wheat paste, stencil and sticker. Since 2008, four of the original core members—Nancy Brooks Brody, Joy Episalla, Zoe Leonard, and Carrie Yamaoka—continue to work together.
One of fierce pussy's more well-known projects was the use of wheat-pasted posters and crack-and-peel stickers that were interspersed throughout New York City. In addition, their other projects included re-designing the bathroom at the Gay and Lesbian Center, a greeting card campaign, a video public service announcement, a moving billboard truck, and renaming the street signs along the New York City Gay Pride route in 1991 after prominent lesbian heroines. Since 2008, their work has appeared in various installations and exhibitions in New York City. Their site specific installation, "For The Record", was part of the exhibit Greater New York in 2015.
Projects and exhibits
While Fierce Pussy was most active between 1991 and 1995, their work is still exhibited as historic examples of AIDS-related art and lesbian-identified art. From 2008 to 2010 at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, fierce pussy presented an overview of their old work in addition to a new installation entitled Mining the Archive, in which objects from the archive were utilized. In addition, fierce pussy contributed their display to the White Columns featured exhibit ACT UP New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS crisis, 1987-1993. This exhibition was revived at Harvard University's Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in 2009. When the exhibition moved to White Columns, they were commissioned to make the installation called "Get Up Everybody and Sing." In 2010, fierce pussy created "Get Up Everybody and Sing" for the White Columns presentation of the ACT UP New York exhibition; in 2015, VisualAIDS made this exhibit available under the name "For the Record". Fierce pussy has made an overview retrospective of their older work available at Printed Matter, which also published the book fierce pussy. In 2018, fierce pussy presented a year-long, site-specific installation entitled "AND SO ARE YOU," which combines and remixes past works. Of "AND SO ARE YOU," the collective states, “Historically, public space has held a contradiction for queer people: on the one hand we have been invisible and on the other hand we are frequently the target of violence in public. Part of the impulse in making this work has been to let other queer people know that we are here, that queer people are everywhere—simply put, we make ourselves visible.”
- "Fierce Pussy collection 1991-1994". New York Public Library. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- ""ACT UP New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987–1993"". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
- Kim, Susie Y. (16 October 2009). "Re-Act: Presenting visual media from the AIDS activist movement, "ACT UP New York" hopes to spark dialogue on campus". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
- http://momaps1.org/exhibitions/view/403 Greater New York 2015
- Kivrak, Pelin; Sonia Coman (16 November 2009). "Act Up Revived at Harvard: In the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, ignorance is not bliss". The Harvard Independent. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
- fierce pussy: about us
- fierce pussy - Exhibition and Book Launch - Exhibition on View through May 24, 2008
- Fierce Pussy: Site-specific installation October 15—December 23, 2009
- Queer Artists' Books: A Queer Critical Analysis of Artists. Michael Carosene.
- ACT UP New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987 - 1993, ACT UP Oral History Project, fierce pussy
- Newsgrist: Mining the Archive: fierce pussy @ the Lesbian Herstory Archives
- American Art: Lesbian, Post-Stonewall
- Very Noice: Fierce Pussy: No, Really