Writing for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums

The Installations and Ephemeral Art of
David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz, Installation #3 / Reagan Installation (1984) in “USA 51X,” at 51X Gallery, NYC (September 20 – October 21, 1984)


The primary function of this thesis is to describe and collect documentation of the installation and ephemeral artwork produced by David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) throughout distinct parts of his artistic career. These intricate installations and thought-provoking ephemeral projects are emblematic of his biography, corpus, and the culture of art in the rapidly changing landscape of New York City in the 1980s, yet we know very little about them. The nature of installation is interdisciplinary and often ephemeral; It is a medium that engages the space it is presented in, the context of the things around it, and the time/duration it is given. This thesis surveys the installation artworks by Wojnarowicz both visually and critically while drawing lines of connection to his work in other media.