Skip to main content

Reply to "David Wojnarowicz - Artist"

Daddy-D: I promise not to dreg up emotions too often. And someday, you and Chi Chi will have to let me write a bit about your early exploits. This is something I look forward to. You know, one of the first conversations I had with Rose, maybe about four years ago, was about whether or not I could come in to Mother early one night just to interview her. She seemed to me to have stories untold of amazing interest (however since there was no place to publish such tales) I did not pursue the endeavor. Also, I got the impression, she found me a bit odd for making the request. eek

Hatches: I am an intuitive being. And the older I get, the more accurate my "musings" become. I make connections, although half the time I do not know I am doing so. Often to the amazement and disruption to those around me. I utter things -- because some part of my ego must know if they are correct. It's like with your last post, all I could think of was this guitar book I bought after my guitar was given to me (ask me sometime who gave it to me). I was fascinated for some time with the section in that book about alternative guitar tunings, but what this has to do with your post, I'm completely lost. I'm sure it will make sense to me some night while spinning about the dance floor. roll eyes

Dreambot: Ref. 1: Mail artists around the world embraced Johnson's notion of making ordinary mail an art of extraordinary wit and beauty. Johnson's legacy lives today in numerous gatherings of mail artists such as the NYCS Salami Chapter which paid homage to Ray's passing at Katz' Deli. Ref 2: 1995. February/február "NEW YORK CORRESPONDENSE SCHOOL" Salami Chapter, gathered at Katz's Deli, New York City, USA (www) / "PRAY FOR RAY, IN A MEMORY OF RAY JOHNSON" /medium: fax/ Begijnhof-Centrum voor Kunsten, Hasselt, Belgium. (org.: T.A.C./Guy Bleus) wink

Goblin: as requested: cool

Exhibitions / Galleries /Museums
Although there are the occasional exhibitions and shows where David's work can be seen, I can find no current listings in this country. However, there are several virtual galleries and a few galleries and museums about town that catalog his work. I recommend phoning any gallery or museum in advance to make sure the work is indeed available for public view.

Virtual Galleries
New Museum of Contemporary Art - Fever: The Art of David Wojnarowicz – Online Gallery

New Museum of Contemporary Art - Online Slide Show

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has launched a visual database of work by artists with HIV/AIDS. Entitled The Virtual Collection, the on-line database features 3,000 high-resolution images of works by 150 artists who have died of AIDS or are living with HIV/AIDS. The Virtual Collection can be accessed via the MoMa Web site and through other museums and institutions around the United States.

Queer Arts Resource - Wojnarowicz
QAR was founded in 1996 as one of the first Internet-based arts organizations. Since that time they have produced over 40 exhibitions demonstrating the range, depth, and importance of queer artistic expression.

Queer Cultural Center - Wojnarowicz
Founded in 1993 Qcc is a multidisciplinary arts presenting organization that conducts artistic and interpretive programs exploring queer identity issues.

DIVA TV Netcast - David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) reads several works from his writings at the Drawing Center (New York City, 1992) as a benefit for Needle Exchange shortly before he died. DIVA TV was founded in 1989 as a video-documenting affinity group with ACT UP (AIDS_Coalition_To_Unleash_Power) an activist group famous for its direct action against bureaucratic inaction and drug company profiteering in the AIDS crisis and widely acknowledged as re-energizing civil disobedience tactics in the United States.

Visual AIDS Web gallery
Begun in 1994, the Archive Project is the largest national slide archive of works by artists with HIV/AIDS, used by curators, galleries, museums, historians, and students.

Exit Art / The First World, 548 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, 212-966-7745

Interview with Abraham Lubelski of Exit Art
Gracie Mansion Gallery, 407 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003, 212-505-9577

P.P.O.W., 476 Broome Street, New York, New York 10013, 212-941-8642

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Ave. at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028, 212-879-5500:
Pandemic: Imaging AIDS 2002-08-30 until 2002-10-27, Pretoria Art Museum, Arcadia, Pretoria ZA South Africa

New Museum of Contemporary Art, 583 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, 212-219-1222: contact: Rebecca Metzger, Public Relations Officer)

Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York, NY 10021 212-570-3676: books & audio recordings

Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, 87 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074 440-775-8668:
David Wojnarowicz's Burning Man Acquired by Oberlin's Allen Memorial Art Museum:
Press Release 1999 - The oeuvre of the painter, photographer, and filmmaker David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992, is now recognized as one of the most powerful and complex to have emerged and developed in the East Village in the course of the 1980s. Though his work is not autobiographical in the strict sense of the term, it is a distinctly personal response to the brute tensions and conflicts of contemporary urban life.

The outlines of Wojnarowicz's traumatic life (1954-1992) are well known from the artist's numerous writings and interviews. Raised in New Jersey by a severely abusive father, he became aware of his homosexuality at an early age, He left home in his early teens and lived on the streets for several years in circumstances, which continued to subject him to physical and emotional violence. He began to write and take photographs around 1973 and slowly developed an underground reputation among young or marginalized artists in the Lower East Side. Like Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and Michel Basquiat, Wojnarowicz first became famous through word of mouth rather than the art press, and for work on the street or in warehouses rather than gallery productions. By the early 1980s he was known mainly for his performances in the post-punk noise band "3 Teens Kill 4. No Motive" and for his stenciled posters for the band and which he pasted throughout the Lower East Side area. He began to focus exclusively on the visual arts during this period, producing paintings, films, and immensely ambitious installations and performances. He became associated with the East Village gallery Civilian Warfare in 1982, which became a focal point for some of the most aggressive installations, performances and paintings being shown at the time. It was also around 1980 that Wojnarowicz's painting -- mixed media works that combine acrylic with posters, photographs, or maps -- already contained the distinctive symbols that would reappear throughout his oeuvre, such as objects on fire, most often a burning house; a whole or fragmented map; a suburban or industrial landscape; a cow's head or cut meat; a sleeping; homosexual activity; and, from around the time his lover (the photographer Peter Hujar) became ill with AIDS, spermatozoa. Either stenciled or drawn in simple outlines, the images have a deliberately cartoonish and crude effect, like much East Village artwork. Yet Wojnarowicz's arrangements of his symbols of power, violence, anxiety, and need are compositional strategies -- odd spatial juxtapositions, layering effects, alterations of scale, hieratic divisions of the picture field, or bizarre reworkings of normal landscape composition -- the artist created a rather sophisticated framework for his "primal gestures" (the descriptive shorthand for aggressive East Village art in those days), and gave his works a strangeness and depth that far exceeded the slick images of Haring or the overwrought surfaces of Basquiat.

Burning Man distills the most characteristic features of Wojnarowicz's early-mid 1980s paintings into a work of unusual clarity and concentration. The entire field is covered with torn and collaged maps (in a 1989 interview, Wojnarowicz said that he associated maps with the power of national boundaries). Crude outlines of cubes, sliced by the painted black frame, denote urban or suburban buildings, which recede towards a wall of outlined mountains. the thin slice of sky is hot yellow with a sinking red dot of sun at dead center. Placed directly below the sun is a stenciled figure of man in flames, poised as if running, though he is not going anywhere.

"All of Wojnarowicz's work from this period," wrote John Carlin in 1989, " appears to be about representing a correspondence between self and society that is distorted and hidden in ,ass media. Wojnarowicz tries to show the relationship between the apparently incongruous aspect of our culture on both a thematic and formal level. He is reaching for and articulating a deeper chord, a finer thread, that holds things together just at the moment they appear inextricably torn apart."

Though there is Wojnarowicz print in the museum's rental collection, there is no work by this artist in the permanent collection. Wojnarowicz is recognized by many as the most interesting and powerful of those artists who aimed to develop a counter-cultural art practice in the East Village in the 1980s. The visceral force of his imagery, his interest in sign systems, and his direct mode of address exemplify important aspects of 1980s figural painting, a class of work that is not well represented in the collection, due to prohibitive costs. In the context of the existing contemporary collection, Burning man prompts illuminating comparisons and contrasts with various pop works, while its dystopic view of the modern landscape and man's place within it would thematically link it to a broad range of modern and contemporary works in the many different media.

Past Exhibitions
2000 - The End: An Independent Vision of Contemporary Culture, 1982-2000, Exit Art New York, NY. 2000 - Horse: The Male As Sexual Entity, Ron Judish Fine Arts Denver, CO. 2000 - Odd Bodies, The National Gallery of Canada University of Calgary. 1999 - Fever: The Art of David Wojnarowicz, New Museum New York, NY. 1999 - Fever: The Art of David Wojnarowicz, New Museum New York, NY. 1999 - True West, P.P.O.W. Gallery New York, NY. 1996 - David Wojnarowicz, Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary Photography Toronto, ON, Canada. 1995 - Sites of Being, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, MA. 1994-95 - Hal Bromm Gallery New York, NY. 1993 - The Subject of Rape, Whitney Museum of American Art New York, NY. 1991-92 - Art of the 1980's, Selections from the Collection of Eli Broad Foundation, Duke University Museum of Art Durham, NC. 1990 - Images of Death in Contemporary Art, Patrick & Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art Marquett University, Milwaukee, WI. 1990 - In the Garden, P.P.O.W. New York, NY. 1989 - P.P.O.W. New York, NY. 1987 - Ground Zero Gallery New York, NY
1987 - Art Against AIDS, Gracie Mansion Gallery New York, NY. 1987 - "Small Works", Gracie Mansion Gallery. 1987 - "The Four Elements", Gracie Mansion Gallery. 1986 - "An Exploration of the History of Collisions in Reverse", Gracie Mansion Gallery. 1986 - Cartier Foundation Paris, France. 1985 - Messages to the Public, Times Square Spectacolor Board New York, NY. 1985 - Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art New York, NY. 1984 - C.A.U.C. Buenos Aires, Argentina. 1984 - Gracie Mansion Gallery. 1984 - "Salon Show", Gracie Mansion Gallery. 1983 - "Sofa Painting Show", Gracie Mansion Gallery. 1983 - Hal Bromm Gallery New York, NY. 1983 - From the Streets, Greenville County Museum of Art South Carolina. 1982 - "Famous Show", Gracie Mansion Gallery. 1980 - Lower Manhattan Drawing Show, Mudd Club New York, NY.

[This message was edited by TonyaKnudsen on 09-16-02 at 11:10 AM.]
Last edited {1}