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Rotch Library Exhibit

Wojnarowicz in Cambridge

September 14, 2022 - October 26, 2022

null Reception: September 14, 2022, 4-6pm in Rotch Library Gallery

Wojnarowicz in Cambridge is a series of photographic portraits composed in response to David Wojnarowicz’s Rimbaud in New York series, in which the artist was photographed wearing a mask of the transgressive French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Wojnarowicz in Cambridge brings queer visibility into the public sphere, inviting viewers to consider identity—as something constructed, as something fluid and changeable—so that the current dialogue (and debate) about identity politics becomes more nuanced, more inclusive, more representative.

The photographic images in the Wojnarowicz in Cambridge series were taken using an iPhone and several disposable cameras. The artist Kevin McLellan documented five subjects—local men in Cambridge in their 30’s—at the following locations:

  • pharmacies and a pharmaceutical company (to represent the proliferation and accessibility of effective HIV drugs that were not available during David’s lifetime due, in large part, to the stigma and homophobic politics surrounding what was often referred to as “the gay disease”)
  • a hospital (symbolizing life and death)
  • a rainbow-colored gay bench (to represent progress—in this case, the location of the first legally wed same-sex couple in the United States)
  • brutalist architecture (Gund Hall at Harvard University, a minimalist construction that showcases the bare building materials analogous to what this brutal pandemic has done to bodies)
  • in front of graffiti (to honor David’s relationship with public art)