His father, Ed Wojnarowicz, was a seaman in a passenger's ship and a troubled man - an alcoholic and a gambler, verbally and physically abusive towards his wife and children. Before his work began to be shown in galleries, for a period Wojnarowicz’s canvasses were the lampposts and doorways of the Downtown streets, plastering surfaces with his distinctive militaristic stencilled imagery of a burning house, planes and figures. More by Eileen G'Sell. David Michael Wojnarowicz (/ ˌ v ɔɪ n ə ˈ r oʊ v ɪ tʃ / VOY-nə-ROH-vitch; (September 14, 1954 – July 22, 1992) was a Polish-American painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, songwriter/recording artist and AIDS activist prominent in the East Village art scene. “His greatest work of art was his life,” said McKim, “the multidimensionality and messiness of it. We built it from the sound up.”, In other words, the most important reason to see this film is to get to listen to it. Sign in or become a member now. The film takes its provocative title from Wojnarowicz’s 1984 collage work (below), its name having been inspired by the phrase on a fragment of paper he found on the street, reclaiming the words for his own queer work of art. The documentary opens in 1989 at the height of the epidemic with Wojnarowicz reacting to the news of his diagnosis with his work, before returning to that period later in the film. It was David’s conversations with himself that told me there was something magical. DOC NYC 2020 Film Review: Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker ★★★★â˜, Lesbian Actually – Emily Garside on why queer festive film Happiest Season is an important early Christmas gift, Go Where You Wanna Go – Film Review: Nomadland ★★★★â˜. From a documentary on pioneering queer artist David Wojnarowicz to a survey of Barbara Kruger's pertinent Question installations The Art Newspaper 13th November 2020 17:54 GMT In examining the life of artist, photographer, writer, actor, musician, filmmaker, and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, using his own words, imagery, and music, director Chris McKim (Freedia Got a Gun, Out of Iraq) has created a rich and riveting work that captures Wojnarowicz’s unapologetically queer spirit, and serves as a testimony to the enduring power of art. Â, In a lot of ways Chris McKim’s documentary Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker, which premiered at DOC NYC on November 11, succeeds in capturing the gritty, glorious chaos of the artist’s life and work for exactly the reason the Whitney could not: the film is a symphony of noise and image, a cacophonous rebuttal to white-cube sterility. From the outset, it’s made clear that Wojnorawicz’s archives form the basis of the documentary. As the film explores Wojnarowicz”s intimate long-standing friendship with photographer Peter Hujar, who at one point convinced him not to discard his work and later to kick his heroin habit, we hear author Stephen Koch say that he finds their relationship to be one of the most compelling between artists, “more interesting than van Gogh and Gauguin.” As ever, some of the best observations come from author and public speaker Fran Lebowitz, with her take on the endurance of art in contrast to the recurrence but impermanence of bigots holding the reigns of power, and the era of sexual liberation in New York before an awareness of AIDS. In addition to his media career, James has extensive PR and business experience and is an actor and filmmaker. McKim’s approach recognises how intrinsically linked Wojnarowicz’s personal life and his work were, and the film never feels purely biographical, frequently relating the artist’s experiences to what they later inspired, with that link between the personal and the political and his art becoming more potent and urgent once he was diagnosed as HIV positive. David Wojnarowicz, Director: Where Evil Dwells. David Wojnarowicz, originally known as David Voyna, was born in New Jersey into a dysfunctional working-class family. In his work, as in his life, testing the limits of artistic categories and systemic and institutional power was central to his impassioned vision. The film's subtitle comes from one the artist's most iconic, incendiary pieces, named after a homophobic cartoon that Wojnarowicz found on the street and centered in the work itself. New York art and culture pioneers like Fran Lebowitz, Gracie Mansion, and Peter Hujar are less talking heads than familiar friends, providing an eclectic chorus of insider takes and candid asides. By the end of making this film, I felt like I had as much of a relationship with Wojnarowicz as anyone who knew him. James is a graduate of University College London (UCL) and Drama Studio London. His trenchant visual motifs — burning houses, gagging cows, Catholic saints — resurface in the film as street art, posters for his band, and high art in prominent galleries. A dreamy canvas of pastel blue and pink, “Fuck You Faggot Fucker” (1984) is one of many artworks the artist designed upon maps that he received from his brother, who worked for AAA. “His voice provided the groundwork that we used to tell the story.”. Hyperallergic is a forum for serious, playful, and radical thinking about art in the world today. The sudden notoriety was due to an uproar over his 1986–87 Super 8 art film A Fire in My Belly—specifically, an 11-second sequence that showed Mexican fire ants crawling around and over a crucifix.A Fire in My Belly had been part of the gay-identity exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and … Part of the film chronicles how he became the target of the conservative right and anti-pornography propaganda, leading to a 1990 lawsuit that he defiantly won. Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all. Even when Hujar tells him he’s going to the hospital [for AIDS treatment], he’s still making jokes.”, Mingled with phone messages from older sister Pat and interviews with boyfriend Tom Rauffenbart, these voices form a tight family that anchored the artist’s tumultuous life, be it his meteoric rise at the 1985 Whitney Biennial or his years in poverty preceding his death. I had heard so much from him — his hopes, his fears. The Hollywood Reporter today reviewed WOW’s upcoming biographical documentary Wojnarowicz: F*ck You F*ggot F*cker, saying that director Chris McKim builds on audio and visual journals of David Wojnarowicz to capture the life and work of the downtown New York queer artist and AIDS activist.”. With Wojnarowicz’s reaction to Reagan’s inauguration relatable to how many of us felt in January 2017; saying that he was “going through a time in my life that feels desperate, surreal, awful…”. David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, A Torch Song for David Wojnarowicz, Who Powerfully Documented the AIDS Crisis, A New Online Project Rethinks How We Learn About Artists and Archive Their Life and Work, Japanese Shop Sells Hyperrealistic 3D-printed Face Masks, Have a Creepy Little Christmas with These Unsettling Victorian Cards, Listening to the Joy in James Baldwin’s Record Collection, Proudly powered by Newspack by Automattic. “I’m 26 and thinking about myself and my values … the effect of people on people,” the young artist shares in an early self-recording, the hum of cicadas in the background, “wondering if any of it’s meaningful, if it’s futile, trying to figure out what my life is and where I’ve been going.” His monologue fades into a peppy television advertisement for Ronald Reagan — “a man whose time has come, a man whose principles have been familiar to Americans for 30 years …” — inviting us to consider what type of man, and voice, mattered back then and now. World of Wonder has unveiled an early trailer for the documentary Wojnarowicz, with a much more provocative full title: Wojnarowicz: F--k You F-ggot F--ker. “It is a little voyeuristic, but there is so much life and joy there. As part of the exhibition David Wojnarowicz: Photography & Film 1978-1992, Listening Party brings the artist's tape journals into the space of his photographic and filmic work.Amongst Wojnarowicz's archival papers, which are held at Fales Library and Special Collection at New York University's Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, is a vast collection of audio journals on cassette tapes that … His activism both on the streets and with his art had been hugely impactful, often coexisting, for instance the jacket he wore at ACT UP’s demonstration outside the FDA in October 1988 bore the arresting slogan on the back that became a rallying cry: “IF I DIE OF AIDS – FORGET BURIAL – JUST DROP MY BODY ON THE STPES OF THE F.D.A.” While the iconic image of the artist with his mouth stitched closed from his short film A Fire in My Belly, strikingly and confrontingly embodied the notion of Silence = Death. (152.4 × 101.6 cm). Wojnarowicz: F**ck You F*ggot F**cker is a continually insightful, essential documentary that captures Wojnarowicz’s mastery an artist, as well as his fiery and uncompromising spirit, while offering a touching sense his relationship with his brother and sister. David Wojnarowicz with Tom Warren, Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz, 1983–84 (detail). WORLD PREMERE | Emerging as a distinctive voice in the East Village art scene of the 1980s, David Wojnarowicz combined a variety of disciplines, from painting and photography to music and writing, in his artistic practice.Fiercely and unapologetically embracing his queer identity, he … David Wojnarowicz’s profile is high in New York this summer, with a rich retrospective at the Whitney Museum, opening Friday, and two gallery shows. David's father abused him and the rest of the family, occasionally brandishing a gun and shooting the house up. We’re taken back to the Manhattan of the late 70s, 80s and early 90s, its skyline dominated by the towers of the World Trade Center; the drugs and guns on the streets of the Lower East Side; mentions of legendary downtown hangouts like the Pyramid Club; and the city’s gay sex venues like the Bijou on East 4th Street, where Wojnarowicz detailed meeting the man who became his boyfriend, Tom Rauffenbart, in his column for the East Village Eye. Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker (2020), directed by Chris McKim, screens at DOC NYC through November 19 and is available to stream on select platforms. Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism. View all posts by James Kleinmann, 11th DOC NYC, art documentary, art film, Chris McKim, David Wojnarowicz, DOC NYC, DOC NYC 2020, erotic gay art, gay art, gay art film, gay artist, gay documentary, gay movie, James Kleinmann, lgbtq, LGBTQ documentaries, lgbtq documentary, lgbtq film, politcal queer art, political art, queer, queer art, queer art film, Queer Artists, Queer cinema, Queer Documentary, queer filmmaker, queer photographer, queer photography, The Queer Review, virtual DOC NYC, Wojnarowicz, Wojnarowicz documentary, Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker, Wojnarowicz: Fuck You Faggot Fucker, Wolrd of Wonder. Silence = Death is a 1990 documentary film directed, written and produced by Rosa von Praunheim.The film centers on the response of some New York City artists to the AIDS epidemic. “I loaded clips onto my iPhone and put it on shuffle. “It was an aggressive thing” we hear him explain. All the texture and glitches seemed like what the film should be. Other insights about Wojnarowicz and the East Village scene come from writer, artist, and activist Sur Rodney (Sur) who was co-director of the Gracie Mansion Gallery; biographer Cynthia Carr who wrote the 2012 book about Wojnarowicz, Fire in the Belly; and David Kiehl, co-curator of the 2018 major retrospective at the Whitney, David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night. New York, LGBTQIA, Politics, Art, Biography, Journalism As much as any other artist whose work takes on denial and neglect, David Wojnarowicz used his unique skills as a writer, painter, and thinker to give voice to queer rights at a critical time in U.S. history. She teaches at Washington... “Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker” The copious archive of the late artist David Wojnarowicz is at the center of Chris McKim’s documentary, which considers in detail the connections between the AIDS crisis in the nineteen-eighties, the era’s culture wars, and the political and social oppression of homosexuals. “All the paintings are diaries that I always thought of as proof of my own existence,” we hear him say at one point, and, “whatever I’ve done it’s always been informed by what I experience as a homosexual in this country, as a person who’s legislated into silence in this country.”. We hear the artist’s unvarnished recollections of his experiences with some of the men who picked him up. It was out a recognition of his work as street artist that led to his first inclusion in an exhibition, showing alongside Schabel and Hockney at at the Alexander Milliken Gallery. David Wojnarowicz’s ‘Transgressions’ resurrected David Wojnarowicz's unfinished film “A Fire in My Belly," (1986–87; Super 8 mm film) is considered one of his better-known pieces, in part due to its disturbing, surreal images. At 11 he moved in with his mother in Hell’s Kitchen, spending the rest of his youth frequently running away, living on the streets, and hustling in Times Square. A David Wojnarowicz Documentary Honors the Gritty, Glorious Chaos of His Life In Wojnarowicz's work, as in his life, testing the limits of artistic … In Wojnarowicz's work, as in his life, testing the limits of artistic categories and systemic and institutional power was central to his impassioned vision. In “Wojnarowicz: F*** You F****t F***er,” a new documentary about the prolific artist and AIDS activist, filmmaker Chris McKim aims to elevate his work beyond queer art circles. “So many of the battles going on now,” McKim reflected of the culture wars today, “become a parallel to [the culture wars of] this time.”, The film’s subtitle comes from one the artist’s most iconic, incendiary pieces, named after a homophobic cartoon that Wojnarowicz found on the street and centered in the work itself. I wanted to be true to that.”. “All the paintings are diaries that I thought of as proof of my existence.” Seemingly at one with the blue of the globe’s oceans and seas, the collaged figures appear immune to the slur of the artwork’s title, immersed in stalwart tenderness.Â, “Testing, testing, 1-2-3 …” starts the film, as Wojnarowicz preps to record his own voice. James has also contributed interviews with the world's leading actors and filmmakers to outlets such as MTV, Bauer, Global, Marie Claire, Loaded, HeyUGuys.com, Fun Kids, W!zard, ITN Productions, MyMovies, Unilad and Joe.co.uk. https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/07/02/the-burning-house He died in the East Village aged 37. Founded in 2009, Hyperallergic is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. In an empty room the artist’s voice consumed all who entered, its crushed granite timbre almost tactile to the ear. As the film recounts, it was Wojnarowicz’s knowledge of the gay cruising playgrounds of the abandoned West Side piers that led him to create a guerrilla communal art space there, along with Mike Bidlo, and there’s some fascinating footage and audio recollections about the use of those colossal vacant spaces before the structure was torn down. He resides in New York City. He was born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1954, into a terrible family setting. While acknowledging the culture wars of the 1980s and early 90s that Wojnarowicz became a conservative target of, alongside other queer artists and filmmakers such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Marlon Riggs for the showing of their work being connected to public funds, McKim doesn’t become sidetracked and keeps the focus on Wojnarowicz’s work itself, and his views on the censorship of queer art, both imposed, and self-administered by the country’s major art institutions. David Wojnarowicz is known more for his writing, art and AIDS activism than his acting. F**ck You F*ggot F**cker traces the artist’s childhood growing up in New Jersey with an abusive father in “a tiny version of hell called the suburbs”, as we hear Wojnarowicz refer to it, while later we see him channel some traumatic episodes from that time in a film he collaborated with writer-director Richard Kern on, playing a version of his own father, You Killed Me First. Still courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix © The Estate of David Wojnarowicz His father, Ed Wojnarowicz, was a seaman in a passenger's ship and a troubled man - an alcoholic and a gambler, verbally and physically abusive towards his wife and children. Police sirens, car horns, and gunfire transition into the echo of children’s laughter, the patter of rain upon an empty alley. You must be a Member to post a comment. As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.Â. James is a member of GALECA The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. McKim succeeds in creating a tangible sense of the alternative Downtown cultural environment Wojnarowicz began working in, that felt a million miles away from the SoHo and Uptown commercial art world that ignored the East Village scene until a significant, but relatively short-lived, boom in the 80s when it became the epicentre of contemporary experimental work, its artists were celebrated and new galleries sprung up. “I’m not going to be polite, and fuck those people that want me to be courageous,” we hear him say, “as each T cell disappears from my body it’s replaced by ten pounds of pressure, ten pounds of rage.” His rage at the US government’s indifference and inaction continued to reverberate beyond his death, as the artist was given the first political AIDS funeral marked with a protest march. 32. In examining the life of artist, photographer, writer, actor, musician, filmmaker, and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, using his own words, imagery, and music, director Chris McKim (Freedia Got a Gun, Out of Iraq) has created a rich and riveting work that captures Wojnarowicz’s unapologetically queer spirit, and serves as a testimony to the enduring power of art. Wojnarowicz incorporated photographs of Hujar’s dead body lying in his hospital bed into his work, and we hear him talk passionately about the “slow, vicious, unnecessary deaths” from AIDS “because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country,” as he reads from his 1990 work for ACT UP. By the age of 16, David had left home and relocated to NYC. Poetically woven into the film’s visuals, Wojnarowicz’s frenetic soundscape grants viewers access to 1980s New York as well as his vast, probing interiority. Mingling the lewd comic with deeply personal images, the global with the local, Wojnarowicz collaged black-and-white portraits of himself and his friends in an East Hudson artist squat around the black outline of two men kissing in a pool of water. THIS FILM IS SOLD OUT. “I wake up every morning in this killing machine called America, and I’m carrying this rage inside like a blood-filled egg,” he declared, while the sun pierced the glass one gallery over, igniting the waters of Chelsea Piers. Like what former bandmate Jesse Hultberg called the “film for your ears” that Wojnarowicz’s No Wave group, 3 Teens Kill 4, aspired to in the early 1980s, McKim builds an entire world from the rich cache of the artist’s audio archive — from his somber monologues to hundreds of hours of sound recordings produced throughout his life. “There were nearly 200 cassettes in his archive,” said McKim in an interview a few weeks before the festival, recounting Wojnarowicz’s monologue tapes and extensive recordings of daily life. David Wojnarowicz with Tom Warren “Self Portrait of David Wojnarowicz,” 1983-84 Image: Courtesy of the artist, the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W. “Hearing him struggle with his own journey was so compelling to me — both becoming an artist and what he would do with that,” shared McKim. Beautiful People was shot on Super 8 in 1987 by David Wojnarowicz and me (Jesse Hultberg) one year after the film Fire in my Belly. Collection of Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, Photograph by Ron Amstutz According to Hair, Frank Zappa left impressed after witnessing one of their performances, and its inclusion here adds to the film’s layered portrait of the multimedia artist. But Chris McKim's defiantly alive collage documentary, Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker, is so charged with the words and images of the multimedia artist it … But for others, the entire affair proved a lesson on the limits of institutional curation of artists who overtly reject institutional values — and few did as brazenly as Wojnarowicz.Â, “The exhibition makes oddly digestible Wojnarowicz’s address of truths that are difficult to swallow,” wrote Frieze’s Evan Moffitt, lamenting the irony of the Whitney show’s location off the Hudson River, in the “ruins of a place [Wojnarowicz] called ‘the real MoMA,’ once a site of erotic and creative frisson between the classes, and now a monument to wealth.” Still, it might be fair to say that no major art museum could have done justice to his legacy, as his output and anarchic fervor both resist tidy representation. By taking a substantial amount of time to cover Wojnarowicz’s life at the height of the crisis, conveying his fury and artistic responses, McKim provides a powerfully moving perspective, the personal and political intertwined. In 2019 she was nominated for the Rabkin prize in arts journalism. Like so many of his contemporaries, Wojnarowicz’s life was cut tragically short by AIDS. A dreamy canvas of pastel blue and pink, "Fuck You Faggot Fucker" (1984) is one of many artworks the artist designed upon maps that he received from his brother, who worked for AAA. Editor of The Queer Review, James Kleinmann has had over twenty years of media experience, both LGBTQ and mainstream. He was the on air film critic on both Gaydar Radio and Gaydio's breakfast shows and has contributed to the UK's best selling LGBTQ publication, Attitude Magazine. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. 33. Chris Kim ’s skittering collage of a documentary “ Wojnarowicz ” doesn’t explore his career from the outside but rather works ground up through his art to present an experiential plunge into the raw tumult of the New York art scene just before and following the onset of AIDS. Wojnarowicz: F**ck You F*ggot F**cker played the virtual 2020 DOC NYC festival. “The answering machines tapes bring Peter Hujar to life,” said McKim of the East Village photographer who was Wojnarowicz’s one-time lover and became his mentor and great creative influence. David had left home and relocated to NYC at Washington... more by eileen G'Sell 16 david... His experiences with some of the men who picked him up children’s laughter, the of! 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