David Wojnarowicz (1954 – 1992) used red string as a material throughout his practice. From his early supermarket posters to the flower paintings, he stitched red string into the surface of his compositions to suggest the seams and irreconcilable breaks in culture. In his unfinished film, A Fire In MY Belly (1986 – 87), Wojnarowicz included footage of the stitching together of a broken loaf of bread. This sculpture is a physical manifestation of that earlier idea. The film also included footage of what appeared to be a man’s lips being sewn together. A version of that image by Andreas Sterzing — featuring Wojnarowicz himself — would become one of the most galvanizing images to come out of the AIDS crisis.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, History Keeps Me Awake at Night, at The Whitney Musuem.
This photograph of artist David Wojnarowicz (1954 – 1992) was taken in late May of 1991 at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico while Wojnarowicz and his friend Marion Scemama took a road trip around the American Southwest. Cynthia Carr, the artist’s biographer, describes how the photograph came to be:
David had been there before and he knew exactly where he wanted stage this. “We’re going to dig a hole,” he told her, “and I’m going to lie down.” They began digging without saying word, a hole for his upper body and a bit for his legs. They used their hands. The dirt was loose and dry. He lay down and closed his eyes. Marion put dirt around his face until it was halfway up his cheeks and then stood over him, photographing his half-buried face first with his camera and then with hers.
This image was also licensed for use as the cover art for the soundtrack recording of the 1995 film, Postcards From America.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit History Keeps Me Awake at Night, on View Through September 30th, 2018 at the Whitney Museum in NYC.