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Avram Finkelstein Papers

Call Number



1968-2015, inclusive
; 1986-2014, bulk


Finkelstein, Avram


12 Linear Feet (10 boxes)

Language of Materials

English .


The Avram Finkelstein Papers consist of materials related to the life and work of New York artist and gay rights activist Avram Finkelstein. The bulk of the collection focuses on AIDS-related groups, organizations, individuals, and art collectives responding to political and social movements between the mid-1980s and the late 1990s. A fair amount of material is also drawn from Finkelstein's affiliations with ACT UP, his affinity group Anonymous Queers, and the art collective Gran Fury.

Biographical note

Avram Finkelstein is an artist and writer living in Brooklyn. He is a founding member of the art collective, Gran Fury, with whom he collaborated on public art projects for international institutions including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Venice Biennale, ArtForum, MOCA LA, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Creative Time, and The Public Art Fund. The collective had its first retrospective at 80 WSE in 2012, and has work in the permanent collections of The Whitney, MoMA, The New Museum and The New York Public Library.

His solo work has shown at The Whitney Museum, The Cooper Hewitt Museum, Exit Art, La MaMa La Galleria and The Leslie Lohman Museum, and is in the permanent collections of MoMA, The Whitney, The Metropolitan Museum, The New Museum, The Smithsonian, The Brooklyn Museum

His recent workshops and lectures focus on the "Flash Collective," a new paradigm for rethinking the public sphere, an experiment in political art-making focused on the creation of a one day collective to produce a single art intervention in a public space.


This collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title, which generally indicates the group or person associated with the folder contents. Within those groupings, materials are organized chronologically, where the date is known.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials used and produced by individuals, groups and organizations in response to the AIDS epidemic. Avram's Papers not only contain a number of historical documents, but also help showcase the range of public and private responses issued from different collectives involved with AIDS activism in the late 1980s and beyond. Especially well-represented groups and projects include: ACT UP, Anonymous Queers, Gran Fury and Silence=Death. Ephemera in the collection includes but is not limited to redacted government documents, broadsheets, notes for artworks and articles, t-shirts, and posters.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open to researchers. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections,, 212-998-2596.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder. Please contact the Fales Library and Special Collections,, 212-998-2596.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Avram Finkelstein Papers; MSS 422; box number; folder number; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University Libraries.


The Avram Finkelstein Papers were acquired by NYU's Fales Library & Special Collections from Avram Finkelstein in December 2014. The collection had been stored in Finkelstein's apartment in Brooklyn previous to transfer to NYU.

Related Materials

Bill Bytsura ACT UP Photography Collection (MSS.313)

Alan Klein Papers (MSS.118)

Jay Blotcher Papers (MSS.137)

Michelangelo Signorile Papers (MSS.131)

Lee Snider Photograph Collection (MSS.248)

Collection processed by

Emily B. King, 2015

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 17:01:27 -0400.
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Processing Information

This collection was processed with the assistance of Avram Finkelstein, who assigned dates and gave additional information at the folder level.


Fales Library and Special Collections
Fales Library and Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012