five panels installed in cross shape; collaged elements with paper money and newspaper clippings throughout; a (center panel): train at top center; Day of the Dead skulls and baby in LLC; b (top panel): yellow ladder; c (right panel): Jesus on cross with insects; eyeball in the form of Earth; d (bottom center panel): bound feet by fire painted in black and white; e (right panel): elaborate totem sculpture against red ground

%C2%A9 The Estate of David Wojnarowicz %2F PPOW Gallery%2C New York

Mexican Crucifix, 1987

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David Wojnarowicz’s work documents and illuminates a desperate period of American history: that of the AIDS crisis and culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mexico Crucifix was created during a short but transformative period in the personal and artistic life of David Wojnarowicz. In January 1987 the artist had recently returned from Mexico with Tommy Turner where he had shot the majority of the footage for what would become his iconic film, Fire in My Belly. It was during this time Wojnarowicz also learned that his mentor, best friend, and ex-lover Peter Hujar, had been diagnosed with AIDS.

Between Coatlicue (Aztec earth goddess) and Christ, Wojnarowicz painted a hurtling steam locomotive, northern Mexican mummies, and a crying child. Covered entirely in plastered Mexican pesos and news articles, this monumental work combines images of religious violence, capitalistic greed, and innovations in media and technology to examine the ways these elements work as one to control and corrupt both the individual and the broader society.

Details
Title
Mexican Crucifix
Artist Life
1954 - 1992
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2019.13a-e
Provenance
(PPOW Gallery, New York); sold to MIA, 2019.
Curator Approved

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five panels installed in cross shape; collaged elements with paper money and newspaper clippings throughout; a (center panel): train at top center; Day of the Dead skulls and baby in LLC; b (top panel): yellow ladder; c (right panel): Jesus on cross with insects; eyeball in the form of Earth; d (bottom center panel): bound feet by fire painted in black and white; e (right panel): elaborate totem sculpture against red ground

© The Estate of David Wojnarowicz / PPOW Gallery, New York

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