Bibliography--Exhibition Catalogues

From David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base
Jump to: navigation, search

Former PPOW preparator Robert Ransick recalled that Wojnarowicz was agitated when an exhibition of his did have an accompanying catalogue—he saw exhibition catalogues as an important component of an exhibition. [1] Wojnarowicz was heavily involved in the production of the University of Illinois Galleries’s Tongues of Flame catalogue, selecting his friend Jean Foos as the designer and carefully gathering the visual material from various gallerists. For his 1989 exhibition In The Shadow of Forward Motion, he secured a budget for a photocopied catalogue from PPOW. Marion Scemama offered to invite her friend, philosopher Felix Guattari to write the introduction. Based on a slideshow and a translation of Wojnarowicz’s own discussion of his work, Guattari contributed a short text. Wojnarowicz planned the rest of the catalogue, Xeroxing typed pages with short narratives explaining themes in the work, sketches, and collages. Wendy Olsoff recalled that Wojnarowicz sat in the gallery office for days furiously typing on their typewriter, then Xeroxing the book at a local copy shop before the opening.[2]

Fever: The Art of David Wojnarowicz

Scholder, Amy, ed. Fever: The Art of David Wojnarowicz. New York: Rizzoli and New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1999.

This exhibition catalogue includes essays by Dan Cameron, Mysoon Rizk, Cynthia Carr, and John Carlin in addition to writings by Wojnarowicz. Cameron’s essay examines Wojnarowicz’s use of layered and collaged imagery in his paintings, stencils, sculptures and his combinations of photography and text. Rizk’s essay surveys the collage aesthetic of Wojnarowicz’s life and work as a method of recording his experience of society’s pre-existing contexts and reconstructing alternative connotations and narratives of his own history and of the signs of the world. Carr’s and Carlin’s essays are mostly biographical. The texts by Wojnarowicz are excerpted from his writings published elsewhere including “Memories That Smell Like Gasoline,” “The Waterfront Journals,” “Close to the Knives,” and “In the Shadow of the American Dream.” The catalogue is also well illustrated.

David Wojnarowicz: Tongues of Flame

Blinderman, Barry. 'David Wojnarowicz: Tongues of Flame. Normal, IL: University Galleries of Illinois State University, 1990.

This exhibition Tongues in Flame was the first and only major retrospective of Wojnarowicz's work during his lifetime, and Wojnarowicz was deeply involved in the planning of the exhibition and catalogue. He asked his friend Jean Foos to design the catalogue, and contributed several essays, including a "Biographical Dateline" of his life from 1954 to 1982. The other contributors included Blinderman, Carlo McCormick, Curtis White, and John Carlin. McCormick writes about Wojnarowicz's symbolism and iconography. White discusses Wojnarowicz's activism and the context of the AIDS crisis.Carlin discusses the semiotics and visual poetry of Wojnarowicz's work, comparing him with American 19th century poet Walt Whitman. Blinderman contributes an interview with Wojnarowicz.

Essays: "Fables, Facts, Riddles and Reasons in Wojnarowicz's Mythopoetica," by Carlo McCormick; "AIDS, Pure War and 'Being Queer In America'," by Curtis White; "David Wojnarowicz: As The World Turns," by John Carlin; "The Compression Of Time: An Interview With David Wojnarowicz," by Barry Blinderman. Writings by David Wojnarowicz: "Losing The Form In Darkness," "Self Portrait In Twenty-Three Rounds," "Being Queer In America: A Journal Of Disintegration," "Living Close To The Knives," and "Post Cards From America: X-Rays from Hell." Biographical dateline by David Wojnarowicz. Comprehensive list of exhibitions, chronology and bibliography.

In the Shadow of Forward Motion

Wojnarowicz, David and Felix Guattari. In the Shadow of Forward Motion. New York: PPOW, 1989.

This xeroxed zine-catalogue of 56 pages includes a short essay by philosopher Felix Guattari about the work of David Wojnarowicz in addition to short texts and poems by the artist. Guattari’s essay deals with Wojnarowicz’s use of fantasies and dreams in his writings to produce a message and to trigger existential movement and creativity. The 31 literary texts by Wojnarowicz cover such themes as dreams, ants, civilization, finding comfort in forces of nature, eyes, desire, death, sexuality, economics, science, and spirituality. A range of collages, newspaper clippings, sketches, notes, and drawings by Wojnarowicz are reproduced throughout the zine, many of these images are mock-ups or diagrams for his larger photomontages, collages, paintings and other works which could be useful for someone researching or curating his work.
  1. See Robert Ransick interview on this site.
  2. See Wendy Olsoff interview on this site