The Lazaretto. An Installation About the Current Status of the AIDS Crisis. David Wojnarowicz.

The Lazaretto. An Installation About the Current Status of the AIDS Crisis

New York: PPOW Gallery, 1990. 4 x 6" postcard, offset printed on coated stock on recto. Addressed and mailed at verso.

The rare postcard exhibition announcement for one of the most remarkable and harrowing works of the AIDS era at PPOW, which was created by David Wojnarowicz, Paul Marcus, and Susan Pyzow. The installation was partially restaged at PPOW in 2018.

From Fire in the Belly: “David and Marcus had been collecting stories from people with AIDS about the physical horrors, the victimization, and the discrimination they often faced. (For example, ‘I spent nine days in a hospital emergency room corridor. They sent me home when I refused a colonoscopy in the hallway.’) They began the installation by constructing a labyrinth with black plastic bags. They wrote out the stories they'd collected on large sheets of paper and attached those to the billowing walls. This maze led to a grotesque sickroom where, in a corner, a skeleton lay under a blanket on a cot. Decorating the walls around the cot was a screed about access to health care and other issues affecting the politicized body. On a nightstand sat many bottles of pills and a small TV pumping out daytime drivel, crowned on top with an actual dead cockroach. there was garbage on the floor, splotches of vomit, a Raggedy Ann. In the hallway leading from this room, blue hands reached out of the walls. This led to a ship of fools and its papier-mâché passengers--Cardinal O'Connor, Jesse Helms, and George H.W. Bush. They floated across a sea in mid-cry and hundreds of human hands reached out for help. Past this centerpiece came a dancing Howdy Doody, who talked nonstop…. Just outside the installation stood three long tables covered with pamphlets, fact sheets, condoms, and needle bleaching kits from a diverse selection of groups trying to address the crisis. The soundtrack to it all, on a loop, was what David claimed as his favorite song, Louie Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World.’” - Cynthia Carr, Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz, p. 505.

Near fine. Item #28258

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