Untitled (One Day This Kid...)
Not on view
Sheet: 29 13/16 × 40 1/8 × 3/16in. (75.7 × 101.9 × 0.5 cm) Image: 28 1/8 × 37 1/2in. (71.4 × 95.3 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Print Committee
Rights and reproductions
© The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York
The subject pictured in this photo-text collage Untitled (One Day, This Kid) is David Wojnarowicz himself as child, his toothy grin and neat hair and dress evoking an all-American school snapshot from the 1950s. Surrounding this image of prepubescent innocence, however, are texts forecasting the artist’s future as a homosexual who is persecuted by his family, church, school, government, and the legal and medical communities. Among other abuses, he will “be faced with electro-shock, drugs, and conditioning therapies” as well as “be subject to loss of home, civil rights, jobs, and all conceivable freedoms”—all because, the text concludes, “he discovers he desires to place his naked body on the naked body of another boy.” With its imperative declarations and use of the future tense, Wojnarowicz’s text demands attention, transforming “this kid” from a specific figure to anyone subject to homophobia. Like many of the artist’s projects, this work insists on a presence and visibility for the gay community of which he was a part, proposing art as not only an instrument of protest but a vehicle for enlightenment.