In recognition of Peter and David’s deep bond, a joint presentation of their work,
“If I Could Attach Our Blood Vessels I Would: The Work of David Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar,” will be presented by P·P·O·W at Paris+ par Art Basel at the Grand Palais Éphémère October 20-22, 2023.
P·P·O·W explains, “Correcting the often-cited misconception about their relationship as being solely or primarily “lovers,” the presentation will demonstrate their close friendship and influence on each other’s artwork throughout the 1980s.”
More than just a friend and mentor, David once said of Peter: “[Peter] was like the parent I never had, like the brother I never had. He helped me drop a lot of the shit I carried from the streets—the pain, the fear, the guilt.”
On her latest album Regards to the End, musician and composer Emily Wells dedicates several songs to artistic luminaries like David, Kiki Smith, and Peter Hujar.
Each ethereal song teases out connections between life during the 1980’s AIDS crisis and today’s looming climate crisis. In a new interview with The Foundation, Wells describes her creative bond with David and his peers.
Wells explains, “[David] is just so present on the page. Whenever I got stuck, or didn’t know where to go next, I would just read him. And it was just like a well, this endless well I could return to and always trust…”
While David only completed one film in his lifetime, he worked with friends and collaborators on a number of film projects, fifteen of which we’ve now archived on The Foundation’s YouTube channel.
Among the filmmaking partners whose works are presented (as clips or in their entirety) are: Richard Kern, Tommy Turner, Phil Zwickler, Richard Morrison, and Tom Rubnitz.
“While David is known best for his fine art and writing, film was also a component of his artistic practice,” explains Anita Vitale, Board Chair of the Wojnarowicz Foundation. “His vivid visual sense, his deep voice and arresting presence on screen, remain truly compelling. David, too, was often very funny and we want to offer viewers the opportunity to see these aspects of him.”
Dear Jean Pierre is a collection of David’s transatlantic correspondence to his Parisian lover, Jean Pierre Delage, from 1979 to 1982. James Hoff, editor of the Paris Review, explains: “…the letters not only reveal his captivating personality but also index the development of the visual language that would go on to define him as one of the preeminent artists of his generation.”
Published by Primary Info, Dear Jean Pierre is edited by James Hoff with text by Cynthia Carr. The letters are now in the Collection Hartwig Art Foundation as a promised gift to the National Collection of the Netherlands.
We are proud to announce our David Wojnarowicz Fellow, Anthony M. Sennett.
A recent graduate of the Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Design, Anthony will share their considerable graphics talents while advancing scholarship of David’s work.
“I am passionate about exploring how merging different art mediums can create untapped meaning,” Anthony explains. “And David’s oeuvre is a rare fount of inspiration, proving it is possible to transcend any barriers on self-expression.”
A troupe of young British actors have been reading excerpts from David’s Waterfront Journals at venues throughout London. The principals of the group are Alex Lawther, Ellie Kendrick and Hugh Wyld, along with various other actors.
This summer, they took their performance to Margate Pride. Seated on the terrace of the Turner Contemporary, an audience of all ages attended a reading to kick off Margate Pride weekend. Kendrick explains: “It felt apt to start the weekend by sharing this beautiful and challenging piece of queer history which still feels so relevant today.”
The seaside setting created a magical atmosphere that interwove beautifully with the water running through so many of the pieces read from David’s journals.
Our sincere appreciation to all who continue to help us honor David’s legacy—his life, art, writing, and fierce commitment to social justice.
Images: David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Peter in a Cornfield), c. 1980s; Portrait of Emily Wells courtesy Rachel Stern; Still from Richard Kern, “American Obsessions,” 1983. Copyright and courtesy Richard Kern; Dear Jean Pierre, 2023, edited by James Hoff with text by Cynthia Carr (Brooklyn, New York: Primary Info).; Anthony M. Sennett, Self Portrait; Margate Pride, image courtesy Sarah Wyld.