New York: United Front Against Racism and Capitalism-Imperialism, . First edition. Broadsheet newspaper, 23 x 17 inches,  pages. Illus. Newsprint somewhat toned but supple; old folds; in very good condition. Item #19281
An ephemeral relic of the hurly-burly on the fringes of the 1980's New York City graffiti scene--the somewhat wacked-out, hyper-verbal flip side of a radiant baby. By the summer of 1986, William Depperman's graffiti suggesting AIDS was a CIA-engineered genocidal virus had become so ubiquitous in New York that Mayor Koch that summer finally asked the NYPD major case squad to put a stop to his activities. (A police officer called the number Depperman always included looking for volunteers and went out with him to spread information, arresting him when he pasted up a poster.) Todd Purdum noted in the New York Times of August 21, 1986, "The authorities said Mr. Depperman, who since 1980 has worked for the state as a laboratory technician at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, was perhaps best known for the large black-and-white posters found at hundreds of bus stops and phone booths. They are covered with small print and assail everything from the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation to racism and imperialism.'' A follow-up article in the Times on April 5, 1987 (after Depperman jumped bail) added, "For nearly five years, according to the authorities, William Depperman drove New York City sanitation inspectors up a wall. Operating stealthily at night, they said, he plastered a wide swath of Manhattan with posters that proclaimed in black and white such messages as: 'The Truth. AIDS is germ warfare.' Hundreds of the posters, jammed with small type, warned on lampposts, bus stop shelters and other public places of further governmental plots and intrigues, more than even a fertile TV playwright might dream up." Luc Sante further name-checked Depperman in a Spy magazine column in November, 1986 on "information crime," taking as a given the fame of Depperman's conspiracy-theory posters.