- Category: ROOT
- Published: Tuesday, 03 February 2009 00:25
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David Wojnarowicz Prints (two images for $2500 total*)
Please send your email of inquiry to both:
If I had a dollar to spend for healthcare I'd rather spend it on a baby or innocent person with some defect or illness not of their own responsibility; not some person with AIDS...' says the healthcare official on national television and this is in the middle of an hour long video of people dying on camera because they can't afford the limited drugs available that might extend their lives
__ and I can't even remember what his official looked like because I reached in through the T.V. screen and ripped his face in half__ and I was diagnosed with AIDS recently and this was after the last few years of losing count of the friends and neighbors who have been dying slow and vicious and unnecessary deaths because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country __'If you want to stop AIDS shoot the queers...' says the governor of texas on the radio and his press secretary later claims that the governor was only joking and didn't know the microphone was turned on and besides they didn't think it would hurt his chances for re-election anyways
__ and I wake up every morning in this killing machine called america and I'm carrying this rage like a blood filled egg and there's a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I'm waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping amazonian blowdarts in 'infected blood' and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastika's that wear religious garments over their murderous intentions or those rabid strangers parading against AIDS clinics in the nightly news suburbs
__ there's a thin line a very thin line between the inside and the outside and
I've been looking all my life at the signs surrounding us in the media or on peoples lips; the religious types outside st. patricks cathedral shouting to men and women in the gay parade: "You won't be here next year--you'll get AIDS and die ha ha'__ and the areas of the u.s.a. where it is possible to murder a man and when brought to trial one only has to say that the victim was a queer and that he tried to touch you and the courts will set you free
__ and the difficulties that a bunch of republican senators have in albany with supporting an anti-violence bill that includes 'sexual orientation' as a category of crime victims __there's a thin line a very thin line and as each T-cell disappears from my body it's replaced by ten pounds of pressure ten pounds of rage and I focus that rage into non-violent resistance but that focus is starting to slip my hands are beginning to move independent of self-restraint and the egg is starting to crack
__ america seems to understand and accept murder as a self defense against those who would murder other people and its been murder on a daily basis for eight count them eight [nine, ten...] long years and we're expected to quietly and politely make house in this windstorm of murder
__ but I say there's certain politicians that had better increase their security forces and there's religious leaders and heathcare officials that had better get bigger dogs and higher fences and more complex security alarms for their homes and queer-bashers better start doing their work from inside howitzer tanks because the thin line between the inside and the outside is beginning to erode and at the moment I'm a thirty seven foot tall one thousand one hundred and seventy-two pound man inside this six foot frame
_ and all I can feel is the pressure
_ all I can feel is the pressure and the need for release.
A Limited Edition Box of Objects
[text of art box inside enclosure]
Finding them all shacked up together, one considers the seven objects in the ACT UP Art Box collectively. Beyond a shared show of support--each artist donated his or her work to benefit ACT UP--what connects these disparate things? The avian imagery (Ross Bleckner, Mike Kelley and Lorna Simpson's works all involve birds), fragile materials (Simpson and Kiki Smith both use glass) and grotesqueries of these ofjects (Louise Bourgeois, Simon Leung, and Smith each detail unidealized aspects of the body, put to dance by Nacy Spero) all add up to the time-honored notion of memento mori. As reminders of the organic ephemeralness of life against the sure passage of time and certainty of death, this motif fittingly commemorates people with AIDS. But given the aegis of their assembly, an organization actively, dramatically, even rudely, committed to ending this health crisis--these objects must contain more than pathos.
Anger is frowned upon in decent society. In the conventional breakdown of mind and body, intellect and emotion, culture and nature, anger falls into the latter, distictly feminine cast of attributes. It thus becomes the property of all disenfranchised persons--the property we are all taught to hide. But anger's indecorousness is also what makes it patently anti-social and potentially radical. Members of the lesbian and gay communites realized this when they "allied in anger" to found ACT UP in March of 1987.
Think of anger, first quietly projected in the picture of a man skating the Rockefeller Center rink during the holiday season carrying a sign protesting homelessness of people with AIDS. Now imagine some outrageous outburst, like the funeral last July for Jon Greenberg, who died of AIDS. His coffin was carried through the streets of the East Village; his own ironic epitah read, "I don't want an angry political funeral. I just want you to burn me in the street and eat my flesh." That it doesn't get much more distasteful is exactly ACT UP's position: AIDS is not acceptable.
Now open the ACT UP Art Box. Begin with the slow rage of frustration that curls up from Leung's post-modern veil of St. Veronica: a silk scarf imprinted after the facial oils left by art pilgrims as they press against the door of Marcel Duchamp's manipulative last work, Étant Donnés (1946-66), to look through a peephole at a diorama of rape. Kelley and Smith also go in for acts of violation. With a cork shoved into a crude gash and putty pushed into a tiny incision, Kelley's wooden egg--the absurd rejoinder to, "Egg, heal thyself"--comes doubly domaged and twice repaired, ready to be hurled, like a grenade. In a photograph of one of her sculptures, Smith protrays flayed anatomy made out of meat and clay. Conversely her delicate glass flower evokes the symbolic shatter anticipated (almost audibly) by Simpson's pair of tenuous glass wishbones. The image of Bleckner's feathered friend dipped in tar is not only poignant but sadistic--a frightening token of the ease with which our culture flies to protect animal--as opposed to human--life. While Bourgeois and Spero both work in idioms of sensuous subversion, Bourgeois's willfully perverse pink rubber testicles and phallic smear (with its faintly industrial odor) joins an entire iconography of psyco-sexual amputees. Equally characteristic is Spero's ruinous frieze, a chorus of women moving to the sound of an omimous incantation, "let the priests tremble, we're going to show them our sexts!"* Having lined the halls of so many artworld Valhallas with these Sapphic alternatives to classical constructs of art and identity, it seems only fitting that Spero's agitprop muses adorn the exterior of each ACT UP Art Box.
Filled up and closed shut, this box is no casket of artistic curios, but a toolbox, beautifully equipped with exquisite implements of anger, fine instruments of change.
Ingrid Schaffner, .March 1994 _________ [text of inside enclosure]
*Héléne Cixous, "the Laugh of the Medusa." Signs, Vol. 1. #4 (Chicago: The University of chicago Press. 1976). pp. 876-93
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