Performance--3 Teens Kill 4

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“3 Teens Kill 4” Poster, 1982-83. Spray paint on paper, 30 x 40 1/8 inches. Edition unknown. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase with funds from the Print Committee 2002.187 Untitled (Burning House), 1982. Spray paint on paper, 23 15/16 x 17 7/8 inches, sheet. Unique. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase with funds from the Print Committee 2010. 87.1. Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and PPOW New York

Between 1980 and 1983, Wojnarowicz was part of an art band called 3 Teens Kill 4 - No Motive (usually just referred to as 3 Teens Kill 4) with Brian Butterick, Jesse Hultberg, Julie Hair, and later Doug Bressler. The name of the band came from a newspaper headline in The New York Post, and was chosen by Max Blagg. Blagg was only in the band briefly, but at the time, he was also publishing Wojnarowicz's first book, Sounds In the Distance, through Aloes Books.

Julie Hair described the unusual sound of the band: “David used tapes as a lead guitar. Jesse [Hultberg] mostly played bass and guitar and Brian Butterick came in later and was playing piano. It was real arty. It wasn’t rock n’roll; it wasn’t punk. It wasn’t like anything else I can think of that was going on then or now for that matter. It was just kind of weird.” [1] Wojnarowicz’s use of the tape recorder as an instrument demonstrated another variation of the sampling and remixing he used throughout his artistic practice.

The band recorded a self-produced album together in 1982, No Motive, at a recording studio in the Bronx. Hair recalls that song-writing happened democratically, with the band members taking turns singing and sharing instruments. Hultberg recalls Wojnarowicz’s contributions to lyrics: “David was, you know, David was a poet and he just sort of rambled on sometimes, or he took stuff from his writings, and it was always interesting, sometimes dark, pretty dark, interesting.”[2] After David left the band, he was replaced by musician Bill Gerstel.[3] The band continued to perform until 1987, and reunited briefly in 2010 and 2011.

Photographs[4]flyers and posters[5], and audio[6] for the band can be found in the Wojnarowicz Papers at Fales Library.


  1. ”Julie Hair,” in David Wojnarowicz: A definitive history of five or six years on the Lower East Side, Eds. Sylvère Lotringer and Giancarlo Ambrosino (New York: Semiotexte, 2006)::19
  3. Carr, Cynthia. Fire In the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz. New York: Bloomsbury. 2012
  4. Wojnarowicz, Fales, Series IX: Photography, Subseries A[5], Box 34, Folder 34
  5. Wojnarowicz, Fales, Series VII, Subseries C, Box 15, Folder 120, 120A; Series XIII, Subseries A, 092.2.0470
  6. Wojnarowicz, Fales, Series IV, Subseries A, 092.0538, 092.0632, 092.0636, 092.0638