Saturday, August 11, 2018

David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake At Night The Whitney Museum

Saw this searing exploding sad but beautiful sprawling retro. yesterday and I say see this exhibition before it closes in a month. Funny but our lives crossed but we never met. We had mutual friends I suppose but I closed down in the late 80's and early 90's, closed down sexually and art worldly. I didn't want to have anything to do with anyone or anything.
I was smashed from AIDS losing so many friends including my best one that I just left, so long and goodbye. I still made art, and I stepped lightly into the AIDS political actions taking place, I went to some meetings of Queer Nation but I was too wounded and scared to make a difference.
I didn't put my art on the line like David did, and as I said we never met, I removed myself for my own safety. I didn't take part in the east village art scene so that also passed by me, even though I had friends who were east village citizens, and I didn't show my work to anyone except close friends.
Getting back to this great bundle of art that David did I was amazed by his talent and ability to make beautiful angry paintings that will stay with you after you take your leave from the Whitney and deal with the crap outside the building. Its attractive crap but still crap. David had a great sense of color and how to place an image on a canvas so that it commanded just enough space to pull you in.
They are like puzzles and comic book frames, (the large paintings) gay rebuses, porn, outlaw musings. His life was rough, amazing that he could take these torn pages from his troubled life and make so much wonderful art. The thing is I'm glad we never met, I don't know if we would have liked it each other, or we would have liked each other enough to sex it up at least once, but we never met.
This is a busy show, jam packed but spacious, the huge 5th floor galleries allow this, but some of the curatorial choices bothered me and my friend the artist Carol Heft. Like why not show his alien heads the way they were originally shown on a long shelf, instead they are presented under plexiglass cases taking the danger and shock out of them. They're still marvelous objects even though they have made them a little precious and expensive. Thats what happens sometimes when an artist dies they become expensive. Anyway this is a great exhibition, a lot of food for thought, a lot of beauty and anger and loss and a lot of joy. Easily one of the best exhibitions of the year.


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