July 12–September 30, 2018
Price: Free

The Unflinching Eye: The Symbols of David Wojnarowicz

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY,
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Untitled (eye with ant), 1988 Silver gelatin print courtesy of PPOW Gallery


The Unflinching Eye: The Symbols of David Wojnarowicz—a New York University Division of Libraries exhibition utilizing archival material to contextualize Wojnarowicz's creative practice—held in conjunction with the Whitney Museum of Art’s sweeping retrospective, History Keeps Me Awake at Night. Selected almost entirely from the David Wojnarowicz Papers housed in NYU's Downtown Collection, The Unflinching Eye seeks to analyze the images, ideas, and relationships that informed the artist's work across media including painting, photography, installation, performance, and writing.

David Wojnarowicz came to prominence in 1980s New York, a time and place imbued with creativity and innovation and defined by seismic cultural shifts. A seminal artist who worked across media and pushed boundaries, Wojnarowicz’s work reflects and explores the overlapping cultural scenes that came to define New York—and the arts scene—revealing a complex, multifaceted use of symbols bordering on a private language.The Unflinching Eye: The Symbols of David Wojnarowicz stands as a companion exhibition to History Keeps Me Awake At Night to help viewers explore the roots of Wojnarowicz’s practice and use that knowledge to better understand the work on display at the Whitney Museum.

The exhibition contains three sections that consider the symbolic set pervading Wojnarowicz’s body of work, analyze the relationship between Wojnarowicz and photographer Peter Hujar, present a series of prints from Wojnarowicz’s Arthur Rimbaud in New York series alongside a selection of Wojnarowicz’s journals, and explore Wojnarowicz’s work across creative disciplines. 

Now on display in the Mamdouha Bobst Gallery in the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, main floor from July 12– September 30 (exhibition is viewable between 7 AM and 11 PM). [Subways A,C,E, B,D,M to West 4th Street; 6 line to Astor Place; R train to 8th Street.]. The exhibition is coordinated by Nicholas Martin, with curatorial contributions from Hugh Ryan, Marvin Taylor and Marcelo Yáñez.