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Inside the Revolutionary Work of Artist and AIDS Activist David Wojnarowicz

On July 25, Aperture Members joined the Whitney Museum of American Art for an in-depth discussion and exploration of the work of controversial artist, writer, and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz in the full-scale retrospective exhibition History Keeps Me Awake at Night, on view through September 30, 2018, at the Whitney.

Members connected with Wojnarowicz’s graffiti, sculpture, film, conceptual photography, and profound neo-expressionist paintings, which document and illuminate outsiders, friends, lovers, and strangers affected by government inaction and conservative politics in the 1980s through the 1990s. The symbols and images in Wojnarowicz’s art not only break through to an authentic reality, disrupting the oppressive social order of the time, but also celebrate beauty, love, and the natural world.

The tour concluded with Wojnarowicz’s iconic letterpress edition, Untitled (One Day This Kid…) (1990–91), featuring an image of the artist as an innocent and smiling child, encompassed by bold text describing Wojnarowicz’s dysfunctional family, and the condemnation of societal homophobia the boy in the photo will inevitably endure in his life because he is gay.

Aperture’s book Brush Fires in the Social Landscape, begun in collaboration with Wojnarowicz before his death in 1992 and first published in 1994, engaged what the artist would refer to as his “tribe” or community. Brush Fires is also the only book that features the breadth of Wojnarowicz’s work with photography.

Aperture Members receive an up to 30 percent discount on publications, such as Brush Fires, and meet up with other photo-enthusiasts, editors, scholars, and photographers at events in New York and beyond. Click here to join our growing community and receive invitations to experiences like this one.

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