“Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz,” 1983–85. Photo courtesy of the Whitney.

David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake At Night 
July 13th – September 30th, 2018
Whitney Museum of American Art: 99 Gansevoort Street, NYC

The first comprehensive exhibit of artist, writer and activist David Wojnarowicz is set to open at the Whitney on July 13th. Wojnarowicz emerged as a key fixture in the downtown New York City art scene in the 1980s, frequently showing his works—which eschewed a signature style and spanned a range of mediums and techniques including painting, photography and installation—at galleries such as Civilian Warfare, Gracie Mansion and P.P.O.W. Both queer and HIV-positive, the artist was also an advocate for the gay community and those living with AIDS.

“Arthur Rimbaud in New York (On Subway),” 1978-79

“History Keeps Me Awake At Night” begins with Wojnarowicz’s early experiments in collage and photography, most notably his series “Rimbaud in New York,” in which he photographed friends wearing a mask of poet Arthur Rimbaud and posing throughout the city. The exhibit spans Wojnarowicz’s body of work up until his death, ending with his unfinished film, “Fire in My Belly,” and recordings of the artist reading from his own writings at The Drawing Center in Soho in 1992.

Exhibit organizer David Breslin sums up Wojnarowicz’s work and its importance succinctly: “With rage and beauty, David Wojnarowicz made art that questioned power, particularly why some lives are visible and others are hidden.” After remaining on view at the Whitney through September 30th, “History Keeps Me Awake At Night” will travel to the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid in May 2019 and then to the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg City in November 2019.

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