Monday, September 14, 2009

David Wojnarowicz: (1954-1992) Happy Birthday to a Hero


1955 - DAVID WOJNAROWICZ artist, born; Wojnarowicz was a painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and gay activist who was prominent in the New York City art world of the 1980s. Born in Red bank, New Jersey, he later lived with his mother in New York City, where he attended the High School of the Performing Arts for a brief period. From 1970 until 1973, after dropping out of school, he for a time lived on the streets of New York City and worked as a farmer on the Canadian border. Upon returning to New York City, he saw a particularly prolific period for his artwork from the late 1970s through the 1980s. During this period, he made super-8, such as Heroin, began a photographic series of Arthur Rimbaud, did stencil work, played in a band called 3 Teens Kill 4, and exhibited his work in well-known East Village galleries. In 1985, he was included in the Whitney Biennial, the so-called Graffiti Show. In the 1990s, he fought and was issued an injunction against Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association on the grounds that Wojnarowicz' s work had been copied and distorted in violation of the New York Artists' Authorship Rights Act. See Wojnarowicz v. American Family Association, 745 F.Supp 130 (1990). Wojnarowicz died of AIDS on July 22, 1992.

David Wojnarowicz on artnet


Wojnarowicz’s work emerged directly from his life. He knew little art history, had no training past high school, and made a point of not trolling the galleries to see what everyone else was doing. Exposed to unusual hardship as a boy, as a sexually active teen, and as a street person, he didn’t see his experience reflected in the culture. Art was his antidote. Art was his way of witnessing.

A Reading: Fevers

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