David Wojnarowicz & Robert Blanchon

David Wojnarowicz & Robert Blanchon

Grazer Kunstverein

David Wojnarowicz, Arthur Rimbaud in New York (Tile floor, gun), 1978–79. From a series of twenty-four gelatin-silver prints, 8 x 10 inches each. Courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York.

February 26, 2015

David Wojnarowicz & Robert Blanchon
7 March–23 May 2015

Opening: 6 March, 6–8pm

Grazer Kunstverein
Palais Trauttmansdorff
Burggasse 4
8010 Graz
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday 11–18h

T +43 (0)316 83 41 41
F +43 (0)316 83 41 42
office [​at​] grazerkunstverein.org


“Feeling animalistic. Feeling Hyena. Feeling Wolf. Feeling Dog. I am tongue and heart.” 
–David Wojnarowicz

The Grazer Kunstverein continues to question the concept of social abstraction by presenting work by two exceptional American artists who have both gained cult status in the United States. Each of their practices investigates and translates the personal and physical relationship towards their surroundings. 

The works of David Wojnarowicz and Robert Blanchon reflect upon the United States in the 1980s and throughout the ’90s, when gay and queer politics were severely suppressed and questioned during the rise of the HIV/AIDS virus. The poetic but often direct approach of these two AIDS activists represents a period that currently seems to gain more prominence due to the neo-liberal ideologies that are forced upon our perception of society.  

David Wojnarowicz (1954–92) was a painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and activist who was prominent in the New York City art world of the 1980s. Many of Wojnarowicz’s works incorporate outsider experiences drawn from his personal history. By the late 1970s he had, in his own words, “started developing ideas of making and preserving an authentic version of history in the form of images/writings/objects that would contest state-supported forms of ‘history.’”
A member of the first wave of East Village artists, Wojnarowicz began showing his work during the early 1980s in such now-legendary spaces as Civilian Warfare, Club 57, Gracie Mansion, Fashion Moda, and the Limbo Lounge. He gained prominence through his inclusion in the 1985 Whitney Biennial, and was soon showing in numerous museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America. In the late 1980s, after he was diagnosed with AIDS, Wojnarowicz’s art took on a sharply political edge, and soon he was entangled in highly public debates about medical research and funding, morality and censorship in the arts, and the legal rights of artists.
Wojnarowicz’s urban experience in New York, from his childhood hustling in Times Square to his adult life wandering among the abandoned warehouses on the Hudson River piers, counters the notion of the urban as the be-all and end-all of queer community and style. According to American theoretician Kath Weston, the urban is constructed in opposition to the rural as a place of violence and threats for queer or gay subjects. As she states, “From the start, then, the gay imaginary is spatialized, just as the nation is territorialized. The result is a sexual geography in which the city represents a beacon of tolerance and gay community, the country a locus of persecution and gay absence.”
Robert Blanchon (1965–99) was an American artist born in Foxboro, Massachusetts. His conceptual artworks often dealt with histories of American Conceptual Art, the politics of AIDS, and representations of queer sexuality. Blanchon attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1984 to 1989, earning both a BFA and a MFA. While in Chicago, Blanchon was an active participant in the non-profit art scene, curating exhibitions at N.A.M.E. gallery, contributing to Tony Tasset, et al.’s artist project Anonymous Museum, and designing a poster for the City of Chicago’s billboard campaign Art Against AIDS: On the Road.

From 1989 to 1994, Blanchon lived in New York City and worked in the communications department of the New Museum of Contemporary Art while producing his photographic, sculptural, performance, and video artworks. He had a studio on Canal Street where he completed many of his early photographic series, including the stains, tattoos, and greeting cards series. Also during this period, Blanchon created two of his best known and most exhibited artworks, Untitled (self-portrait) (1991), a series of 14 self-portraits commissioned by street artists, and Protection (1992), a letter from the artist to his mother telling her he was HIV-positive, juxtaposed with her 12-page response.
Blanchon had solo exhibitions in New York City at Artists Space in 1994 and at White Columns in 1995. In 1995, he moved to California to take a position as an artist-in-residence at the University of California, Irvine. While in California, he produced the video let’s just kiss + say goodbye (1995), which was exhibited in national and international film festivals, and he had two solo shows, at the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies in 1996 and at Marc Foxx Gallery in the following year.

In the spring of 1998, Blanchon moved back to Chicago to become an artist-in-residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and in the fall of the same year, he took another artist-in-residence position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. By the end of the summer Blanchon was hospitalized due to complications related to AIDS, and on October 3, 1999, he died at the of age 33.

Developed in close collaboration with the NYU Fales Library, New York, this unique exhibition concentrates on the photography, videos, and films produced by the artists during their practice.  

The Members Library* presents
Alexander Apóstol, Heman Chong, Jasper Coppes, Agnieszka Kurant
For the first time, The Members Library brings together works from several artists. Partially commissioned, partially existing, the works share an interest in distribution by trading upon what is considered to be “fiction.” 

*The Members Library is constructed and designed by the artist Céline Condorelli (b. 1974, France) in collaboration with Harry Thaler as a permanent work titled Things That Go Without Saying.

On display continuously 

The Peacock
1 February 2013–
A non-stop group show examining the interior of the Grazer Kunstverein by introducing (new) furniture, design, applied and decorative arts that analyze their own functionality. 

On display
7 March–23 May
Dexter Sinister, Josh Faught, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Karl Larsson*, Nicolás Paris, Will Stuart, Barbara Visser and Robert Wilhite

* New addition

Ian Wilson
1 February 2013–

Please check our website www.grazerkunstverein.org for regular updates on our program. For further information, please contact office [​at​] grazerkunstverein.org.

Grazer Kunstverein is structurally supported by the city of Graz, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture, the province of Styria, Legero | con-tempus.eu and its members. 

David Wojnarowicz & Robert Blanchon at Grazer Kunstverein
RSVP for David Wojnarowicz & Robert Blanchon
Grazer Kunstverein
February 26, 2015

Thank you for your RSVP.

Grazer Kunstverein will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.