Sur Rodney Sur met David Wojnarowicz while working as the co-director of the Gracie Mansion Gallery in the East Village from 1982 to 1988.
Sur recalls the day the gallery began representing David’s work: “I remember David arriving at the gallery… The doors went, Bam! Open….He had just left Civilian Warfare…So he came running in with Judy Glantzman … carrying all this art…and dumping it on us [saying] ‘I want you to take care of this for me.’ Of course Gracie was like, ‘Oh, I love your work! Oh, this is really great!’”
Soon David and Sur bonded over their love of Jean Genet. Later, David entrusted Sur with skeletons featured in his installations (three human and one elephant) which Sur kept in his East Village apartment convinced they were a theft-deterrent.
Sur Rodney Sur shares more memories of David in the audio clips below.
Interview excerpts appear courtesy of The Artist Archives Initiative’s David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base.
Openings at Gracie Mansion Gallery in the East Village drew a crowd that spilled out onto the sidewalk. It wasn’t a surprise to see David out on the curb smoking a cigarette with Peter Hujar at one of his own openings.
In this image, a helper wears a ‘Gracie Mansion Gallery’ jumpsuit, while Sur serves martinis and Gracie appears in her ‘Not Jackson Pollock’ dress by Mike Bidlo. “We figured out it was less expensive to offer vodka martini’s than wine!” Sur explains.