David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was among the most incisive and prolific American artists of the 1980s and 90s. P•P•O•W will recreate part of Wojnarowicz’s influential 1989 exhibition "In The Shadow of Forward Motion", his first exhibition with the gallery which featured many of the photographic works the artist is best known for today. Images such as "Untitled (Buffalo)" 1988-89 present a visual metaphor for the notion of societal progress by channeling, according to the artists’ notes, “a sense of impending collision contained in the acceleration within the structures of civilization; speed of consumption; speed of transport and mixing of cultures.” "Untitled (Ant Series)", comprised of 6 photographs, represents tiny fire ants indiscriminately scuttling across symbols of our most cherished and agonizing social constructs: control, desire, language, spirituality, time / money, and violence. The installation also includes the mixed-media sculpture "Cradle of Civilization", which depicts a small child’s chair growing in the forest. On its seat is a clay fetus clutching a battery whilst lying in a bird’s nest and, slithering between the chair legs, is a map-collaged snake. As an installation, this symbolic dreamscape exemplifies the salient cultural criticism and profound sensitivity of Wojnarowicz’s groundbreaking work. In his essay for the accompanying exhibition catalog, Felix Guattari wrote, “When everything seems to be said or repeated at this point in Art History, something emerges from David Wojnarowicz’s chaos which confronts us to our responsibility to intervene in the movement of the world.”
David Wojnarowicz’s work has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The American Center, Paris, France; The Busan Museum of Modern Art, Korea; Centro Galego de Art Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; The Barbican Art Gallery, London; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. His work is represented in the permanent collections of major museums nationally and internationally and his life and work have been the subject of significant scholarly studies. Wojnarowicz has had retrospectives at the galleries of the Illinois State University, curated by Barry Blinderman (1990) and at the New Museum, curated by Dan Cameron (1999). A third retrospective, "David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night", co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin, opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in July 2018. The widely acclaimed exhibition has been reviewed in Artforum, The Guardian, The New York Times and The New Yorker, among others. The retrospective will travel to the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid in May 2019 and the Musee d/Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City in November 2019. A concurrent exhibition of Wojnarowicz’s films and photographs was presented at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin in February 2019.