Since the late 1980s, writer, artist, and activist Gregg Bordowitz (b. 1964, Brooklyn, NY) has made diverse works—essays, poems, performances, drawings, sculpture, and videos—that explore his Jewish, gay, and bisexual identities within the context of the ongoing AIDS crisis. Bordowitz was an early participant in New York’s ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), where he cofounded various video collectives, including Testing the Limits, an advocacy group within ACT UP, and DIVA (Damn Interfering Video Activists). While developing a visual language capable of communicating harm-reduction models to a broad public in his collaborative works, he made his own videos and television broadcasts that juxtaposed performance documentation, archival footage, role play, and recordings of protest demonstrations, drawing influence from feminist conceptual art. In recent years Bordowitz has increasingly introduced poetry and performance as art events, exploring histories of music and televised stand-up comedy. I Wanna Be Well—named after the 1977 Ramones song—marks the first comprehensive overview of the New York artist’s prodigious career, which spans three decades of production. Moving between multiple genres, the exhibition contemplates an expanded concept of portraiture as a mode of political and artistic address.
Organized by the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College. Curated by Stephanie Snyder and organized at MoMA PS1 by Peter Eleey, Chief Curator, with Josephine Graf, Curatorial Assistant. The exhibition was previously presented at the Art Institute of Chicago.