David Wojnarowicz (American, September 14, 1954–July 22, 1992) was a prominent figure of the art scene in the 1980s. Wojnarowicz was known for his work as a painter, writer, performance artist, photographer, and activist. He is best known for the painting, Afternoon in the Forest, as well as his series of photographs entitled Arthur Rimbaud in New York. Born in Red Bank, NJ, he later attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City.

After dropping out of school, Wojnarowicz worked along the Canadian border as a farmer, and hitchhiked across the United States, living in San Francisco for a period of time. Before returning to New York in 1978, he also lived in Paris, France. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Wojnarowicz began to make super-8 films. One of his more notable films was called Heroin. In addition to his super-8 films, he played music with his band called 3 Teens Kill 4, and pursued photography and stencil work. In the 1980s, Wojnarowicz’s work was exhibited in galleries such as Civilian Warfare in New York. In 1985, he exhibited the collage entitled Science Lesson at the Whitney Biennial.

During his life, Wojnarowicz often collaborated with other artists such as Peter Hujar (American, October 11, 1934–November 26, 1987), Richard Kern (American, b.1954), and Ben Neill (American, b.1957). Many of his works, such as Fire in My Belly, were considered controversial. During the early 1990s, he was put in the spotlight when he filed and won a lawsuit against the American Family Association and Donald Wildmon. Wojnarowicz felt that the American Family Association misrepresented his art and jeopardized his reputation. Wojnarowicz was known for being a well-rounded artist who worked in a variety of media. After being diagnosed with HIV, he also became a prominent activist who frequently questioned medical funding, as well as art censorship. During this period, his artwork also became increasingly political. During his lifetime, Wojnarowicz also released several books including Close to the Knives. Wojnarowicz died on July 22, 1992, of AIDS-related complications.

Exhibitions

2013
Contra Tàpies - Fundación Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona
2012
This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s - ICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, London (England)
This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s - ICA - Institute of Contemporary ArtBoston, Boston, MA
Open Spaces / Secret Places - Werke aus der Sammlung Verbund - Museum der Moderne - MdM Mönchsberg, Salzburg
2011
Spirituality - PPOW, New York City, NY
Fire in My Belly - Richmond Center for Visual Arts, Kalamazoo, MI
A Fire in My Belly by David Wojnarowicz - 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA
2010
David Wojnarowicz: A Fire In My Belly - The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT
A Fire In My Belly, A Work in Progress - Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA
A Fire in My Belly - PPOW, New York City, NY
SCMA Displays Work By David Wojnarowicz In Solidarity With Other Museums - Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
Irutturi - - September, Berlin
2009
David Wojnarowicz - Supportico Lopez Berlin, Berlin
2008
Rock My Religion 1 - DA2 - Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca
Street Art, Street Life - Bronx Museum of the Arts (BxMA), New York City, NY
Here Is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art - MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
2007
Legends Altered - Maps As Method And Medium - Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, IL
Ref. - 1/9 unosunove arte contemporanea, Rome
Panic Attack! - Art in the Punk Years - Barbican Art Gallery, London (England)
2006
David Wojnarowicz - Between Bridges, London (England)
2005
Looking at Words - Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City, NY
Crowd of the Person - - Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD (closed, 2012)
Set Up - Recent Acquisitions in Photography - Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY
2004
David Wojnarowicz - PPOW, New York City, NY
David Wojnarowicz: Rimbaud in New York - Andrew Roth Gallery, New York City, NY
2003
Corpus Christi _ Christus-Darstellungen in der photographie, 1850-2001 - Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg
Crimes and Misdemeanors - Politics in U.S. Art of the 1980s - CAC - Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
Doing Business - Contemporary Art Galleies - UConn School of Fine Arts, Storrs, CT
2002
Social Landscape - PPOW, New York City, NY
The Culture of Violence - Amherst Fine Arts Center - University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Subject Matters - Kravets / Wehby Gallery, New York City, NY
2001
David Wojnarowicz - The Elements, Fire and Water, Earth and Wind - Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL
A Work in Progress - Selections from the New Museum Collection - New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City, NY
Panic - Julie Saul Gallery, New York City, NY
Botanica: Contemporary Art and the World of Plants - Kresge Art Museum, Lansing, MI
2000
The End: An Independent Vision of Contemporary Culture,1982-2000, Exit Art New York, NY
Horse: The Male As Sexual Entity, Ron Judish Fine Arts Denver, CO
Odd Bodies, The National Gallery of Canada University of Calgary
1999
Fever: The Art of David Wojnarowicz, New Museum New York, NY
True West, P.P.O.W. Gallery New York, NY
Fever: The Art of David Wojnarowicz, New Museum New York, NY
1996
David Wojnarowicz, Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary Photography Toronto, ON, Canada
1995
Sites of Being, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, MA
Hal Bromm Gallery New York, NY
1993
The Subject of Rape, Whitney Museum of American Art New York, NY
1991–1992
Art of the 1980's, Selections from the Collection of Eli Broad Foundation, Duke University Museum of Art Durham, NC
1990
Images of Death in Contemporary Art, Patrick & Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art Marquett University, Milwaukee, WI
In the Garden, P.P.O.W. New York, NY
1989
P.P.O.W. New York, NY
1987
Ground Zero Gallery New York, NY
"The Four Elements", Gracie Mansion Gallery
"Small Works", Gracie Mansion Gallery
Art Against AIDS, Gracie Mansion Gallery New York, NY
1986
"An Exploration of the History of Collisions in Reverse", Gracie Mansion Gallery
, Cartier Foundation Paris, France
1985
Messages to the Public, Times Square Spectacolor Board New York, NY
Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art New York, NY
1984
C.A.U.C. Buenos Aires, Argentina
"Salon Show", Gracie Mansion Gallery
Gracie Mansion Gallery
1983
"Sofa Painting Show", Gracie Mansion Gallery
Hal Bromm Gallery New York, NY
From the Streets, Greenville County Museum of Art South Carolina
1982
"Famous Show", Gracie Mansion Gallery
1980
Lower Manhattan Drawing Show, Mudd Club New York, NY