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Opening Reception: David Wojnarowicz: Photography & Film 1978-92


Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 6:00pm


The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery is pleased to present David Wojnarowicz: Photography & Film 1978–1992, the first exhibition to solely concentrate on the artist’s photographic and filmic work. The exhibition presents over 100 works including photographs, test prints, silkscreens, 16 mm and Super 8 film and collaborative video works.

David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) came into prominence in the New York art world of the 1980s, actively embracing all media and forging an expansive range of work both fiercely political and highly personal. Although largely self-taught, he worked as an artist and writer to merge a sophisticated combination of found and discarded material with a deep understanding of literary influences. First displayed in storefront galleries in the East Village, his work had already gained national prominence by the time he was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. From the late 1970s until his death in 1992, Wojnarowicz produced a body of work that was as conceptually rigorous as it was stylistically diverse, resolutely and fervently political at a time when the AIDS epidemic was cutting down a generation of artists due in large part to government inaction. David Wojnarowicz: Photography & Film 1978–1992 reflects on Wojnarowicz as a source for both art-making and activism at a time of political and personal uncertainty. The exhibition sheds light on a practice that has been exemplary and inspirational, not only for his contemporaries but also for current generations.

David Wojnarowicz: Photography & Film 1978–1992 is curated by Krist Gruijthuijsen and was originally shown at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council, our Belkin Curator’s Forum members and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the UBC Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory.

Image above: David Wojnarowicz, Arthur Rimbaud in New York (pier, shooting up mural), 1978–1979, photograph, Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P·P·O·W, New York.

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