In 1990, University Galleries at the University of Illinois organized David’s first major museum retrospective, featuring work produced from 1979 to 1989. The exhibit also included three original pieces that David produced at the campus’s Normal Editions Workshop.
The catalog, David Wojnarowicz: Tongues of Flame, includes essays by curators, art historians, and David himself. Carlo McCormick writes about “Fables, Facts, Riddles & Reasons in Wojnarowicz’s Mythopetica.” Writer/art historian Curtis White looks at “AIDS, Pure War and ‘Being Queer in America.’” Art historian John Carlin writes on “David Wojnarowicz: As the World Turns.” And curator/gallery director Barry Blinderman offers “The Compression of Time: An Interview with David Wojnarowicz.”
David offers a biographical dateline of his life and career, along with five essays: “Losing The Form in Darkness,” “Self-Portrait in Twenty-three Rounds,” “Being Queer in America: A Journal of Disintegration,” “Living Close to the Knives,” and “Postcards from America: X-Rays from Hell.”
The exhibit traveled for over a year, from University Galleries, in Illinois, to the Santa Monica Museum, Exit Art (in New York), and then to Temple and Tyler galleries at Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia.
Additional resources re: Barry Blinderman, ed., David Wojnarowicz: Tongues of Flame. Normal, IL: University Galleries, Illinois State University, 1990.