Wednesday, July 18, 2018

He spoke out during the AIDS Crisis. See why his art still matters.

By Holland Cotter
Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz, 1983-1984 Acrylic and collaged paper on gelatin silver print, 60 × 40 in; 152.4 × 101.6 cm
Like an irate guardian angel, the American artist David Wojnarowicz was there when we needed him politically 30-plus years ago. Now we need him again, and he’s back in a big, rich retrospective, “David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night,” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Wojnarowicz (pronounced voyna-ROH-vitch),who died at 37 in 1992, was one of the most articulate art world voices raised against the corporate greed and government foot-dragging that contributed immeasurably to the global spread of AIDS. Yet he was far from a one-issue artist. He was born in Red Bank, N.J. in 1954. His father, a merchant marine, was an abusive alcoholic. After his parents divorced, Wojnarowicz lived in foster homes and went to Catholic school. [more]

Whitney Museum of American Art: "David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night" (Through September 30, 2018); 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY; (212) 570-3600;
David Wojnarowicz’s “Untitled (Face in Dirt),” from 1991, shows the artist sinking into the earth (or is he rising, Lazarus-like, from it?) in Death Valley. It is part of “David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night,” an exhibition opening Friday at the Whitney Museum of American Art.Private Collection
Untitled (Buffalo), 1988-1989 Vintage gelatin silver print, signed on verso 28 5/8 × 35 3/4 in; 72.7 × 90.8 cm
David Wojnarowicz Untitled from the Ant Series (spirituality), 1988-89 Gelatin Silver Print 16x20 Inches © Courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York and The Fales Library and Special Collections/New York University