Weekly Update: Wojnarowicz at the Whitney Edition

What we were reading on the internet this week, from a new look at a pioneering artist's work, to an artist complaint hotline.


Our Weekly Update is here to bring you our favorite links from the past week: art and design news you might have missed, must-see stories, and the best new contests and calls for entry.

Reconsidering the work of David Wojnarowicz

History Keeps Me Awake At Night, a new show at the Whitney, explores the work of the late artist David Wojnarowicz, alongside two other New York shows and one in Madrid. Writing in The Guardian, Jake Nevins argues that Wojnarowicz has often been viewed too simplistically as a “gay artist;” it seems that, some 25 years after his death, the art world is finally ready to recognize the full, complex impact of his work:

“Artwork made by gay artists has historically been cast aside as such, flagged with labels like ‘gay art’ or ‘Aids art’ or ‘political art’ that serve no discernible purpose other than to tell the viewer that the person who made it is, or was, gay (and often angry). The artist David Wojnarowicz, who died in 1992 from complications related to Aids, has not been especially well-served by such designations, which in the years since his death have imposed on him a martyrdom non-minority artists are seldom asked to bear.”

A controversial painting of the KKK goes on view in Texas

The installation of a new, 30-foot-wide work by the Mexican-American painter Vincent Valdez has generated a lot of discussion in the few short days it’s been on view. Valdez’s painting The City, included in a solo show which opened this Wednesday at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, depicts 14 hooded Ku Klux Klan members in a contemporary setting. Alina Cohen considers the work at Artsy:

“Valdez, for his part, hopes viewers will consider just how strongly racial anxieties still plague the country. Militarizing the border and ripping apart families are today’s most damning evidence of Americans’ fears, he asserted. ‘I aim to bring an awareness into institutions that are sometimes considered safe spaces, somewhat sterile in their ability to confront and respond to the world,’ Valdez said.”

A practical plan for landing the freelance clients you want

Over at Freelancers Union’s blog (which is full of useful freelancing advice), writer Sagan Morrow shares 5 easy to implement steps for creating a client directory to help freelancers of all sorts connect with the clients they’re looking for. Her tips are especially applicable to creatives looking to pitch their work:

“The idea behind creating a prospect directory is that you can brainstorm ideas for all of the clients you would LOVE to work with, and then from there you can come up with a concrete plan for reaching out to those specific companies/individuals.”

Call this number to share your career complaints

Online publication The Creative Independent wants to hear your stories about making a living as an artist. They’ve set up an actual phone hotline you can call and leave a message on; selected messages will be featured on an upcoming podcast:

“We’re partnering with KCRW’s The Organist, a monthly experimental arts-and-culture podcast, to produce a show about creativity and finances. We know making a living as an artist can be incredibly hard, and there are hundreds—maybe even thousands—of reasons why choosing to sustain yourself as a working artist can feel like a risk. Through this collaborative podcast episode, we’re looking to learn a little more about your actual experiences trying to achieve financial stability as a creative person. Maybe you’ve figured it all out and have wisdom to share, or maybe you’re in a financial hole—either way, we want to hear from you.”

Call for entry: Aperture 2018 Photobook Awards

The Aperture Foundation, in partnership with the Paris Photo festival, is looking for the best photo books of the year for this contest which will be open for entry all summer. If you’ve recently published a photo book that’ll blow all the others out of the water, this is your chance to get your work recognized. Photographers have until September 14 to submit their photo books:

“A $10,000 prize will be awarded to the photographer(s)/artist(s) whose first finished, publicly available photobook is judged to be the best of the year. Twenty books from this category will be selected for the shortlist, presented to the Jury for the final selection and exhibited during Paris Photo.”

Call for entry: Photo-Emphasis seeks intimate portraiture

Photo-Emphasis is a platform for showcasing photography by both established and emerging artists. Their latest opportunity gives photographers the chance to have their work exhibited in a gallery show as well as online. Submissions are open through August 12:

“Looking at You: Intimate Portraiture, juried by Jess T. Dugan, will consist of an online exhibition hosted here on the Photo-Emphasis website, as well as a physical exhibition at Corridor Gallery in the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. 30 works by 30 artists will be chosen for the online exhibition on our website. 15 of those works will be chosen for the physical exhibition.”

Cover image: Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz, 1983–84. Photograph: Ron Amstutz/Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Have a tip or call for entry to share? Did you write an article or publish a project that you think we’d like? Let us know.

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