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

Not on Viewexpand_more

David Wojnarowicz’s work illuminates a desperate period of American history: the AIDS crisis and culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mexican Crucifix was created during a short but transformative period in the artist’s personal and creative life. In January 1987, the artist had recently returned from Mexico. 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 (the 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 broader society.

The cross-cultural references in Mexican Crucifix, linking Indigenous beliefs and practices of Latin America to those of the United States, make this work particularly important to an encyclopedic collection. It powerfully presents the intersection of Indigenous beliefs, religious faith, colonialism, capitalism, and Western notions of progress in a singular work that is both complex and thought-provoking. The acquisition of this painting also signals Mia’s continued commitment to the inclusion and representation of openly LGBTQ+ artists and narratives in the museum’s permanent collection in a meaningful way.

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

Because of © restrictions, we can only show you a small image of this artwork.