Performance Studies @ The Whitney

Whitney museum

WHEN: Thursday, August 30th
WHERE: Whitney Museum, Meet at the Department of Performance Studies at 10:15am

Mark your calendars: Performance Studies is heading to the Whitney Museum of American Art! All incoming Performance Studies B.A. students are invited to attend a special tour of the exhibition David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night. Students will be accompanied by department Chair, André LepeckiMalik Gaines, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Laura Fortes, Assistant Director of Programs.

About the Exhibit:

Largely self-taught, David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) came to prominence as an artist in New York City in the 1980s, a period marked by creative energy, financial precariousness, and profound cultural changes. Intersecting movements—including graffiti, new and no wave music, conceptual photography, performance, neo-expressionist painting—made New York a laboratory for innovation. Wojnarowicz refused a signature style, adopting a wide variety of techniques with an attitude of radical possibility. Beginning in the late 1970s, he created a body of work that spanned photography, painting, music, film, sculpture, writing, and activism. Distrustful of inherited structures—a feeling amplified by the resurgence of conservative politics—he varied his repertoire to better infiltrate the prevailing culture. 

Wojnarowicz saw the outsider as his true subject. Queer and HIV-positive, he was an impassioned advocate for people with AIDS as an inconceivable number of friends, lovers, and strangers—disproportionately gay men—died from government inaction. Wojnarowicz himself died from AIDS-related complications at the age of thirty-seven. However, Wojnarowicz’s work is too frequently treated as a footnote to a desperate period of American history: the AIDS crisis and culture wars. His true place is among the raging and haunting iconoclastic artists who have explored American myths, their perpetuation, their repercussions, and their violence.