Interview with Sur Rodney Sur by Diana Kamin and Glenn Wharton on 9-8-2016

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Sur Rodney Sur is a writer, artist and activist. He was co-director of Gracie Mansion Gallery, which showed Wojnarowicz's work in the 1980s.

Interview Abstract

Discusses Wojnarowicz’s stencil work in the context of other artists at the time [p.1-2; 3:13-5:13min]; describes the opening and subsequent expansion of Gracie Mansion Gallery and how they set themselves apart from other galleries in the early-mid 1980s (p. 2-6; 06:07-21:13min); discusses how Wojnarowicz started showing at Gracie Mansion after a dispute with Dean Savard (p.6-7, 21:25-23:05min); describes the production, content, and sales from the 1984 Burning Child installation at Gracie Mansion in detail (p.9-15; 23:06-44:00min); mentions Wojnarowicz’s family of skeletons, which were kept at the gallery for a period, and then were kept in Sur’s apartment in between Wojnarowicz’s exhibitions (p. 7-9, 21-23; 24:45-29:35min, 65:48-69:00min); asserts that Wojnarowicz cared very much about storage and preservation, but was not precise about installation instructions, and was “visceral” in his approach to putting together site-specific installations (p. 14-15, 16, 21; 43:00-44:20min, 47:00-49:23min, 64:00-65:00min); discusses Wojnarowicz leaving the gallery in 1988 when Gracie decided she might close the gallery (p. 15, 44:20-47:00min); mentions the influence of Keith Davis on Wojnarowicz (p. 16; 49:23-51:12min); describes how Wojnarowicz would Xerox all his manuscripts at the gallery because his typewriter used thermographic type (p.17; 52:10-54:00min); discusses the 1986 exhibition An Exploration of the History of Collisions in Reverse (p. 17-19; 54:02-58:00min); discusses the difficulty of selling paintings from Four Elements show in 1987 (p. 19-20; 58:12-60:28min); discusses materials: Wojnarowicz’s use of acrylic paint, Masonite, paper, wood and the gel medium used on sculptures, mentions the influence of Judy Glantzman and Luis Frangella, asserts he would buy materials at Utrecht and New York Central, along with using found materials (p. 23-25; 69:00-77:54 )

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