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Gregg Bordowitz:
I Wanna Be Well

May 13, 2021 – October 11, 2021

MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1 will present Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well, the first comprehensive overview of the New York artist’s prodigious and influential career. Born in Brooklyn and raised primarily in Queens, Gregg Bordowitz (American, b. 1964) has been living with HIV for more than half of his adult life, and transformed his art practice in the mid-1980s in response to the AIDS public health crisis. Working with New York’s ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and several video collectives that he co-founded, he organized and documented protests against government inaction, advocating for health education and harm reduction. During this time, Bordowitz created remarkable video portraits of himself and others living with the disease, often using his “personal history as a way to tell a story shared by many.”

On view from May 13 to October 11, 2021, I Wanna Be Well surveys 30 years of Bordowitz’s practice alongside the coalitions of activists, artists, writers, thinkers, and friends who have shaped his life—and among whom he continues to find sustenance. The relationship between art and activism is critical to Bordowitz’s sustained investigations of identity, illness, and desire. While developing a visual language in his collaborative works capable of communicating harm-reduction models to a broad public, he made videos and television broadcasts that juxtaposed performance documentation, archival footage, role play, and recordings of protest demonstrations, drawing influence from feminist conceptual art. 

Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well was organized by the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College. The exhibition is curated by Stephanie Snyder and organized at MoMA PS1 by Peter Eleey, former Chief Curator, with Josephine Graf, Assistant Curator. The exhibition was previously presented at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Support for MoMA PS1’s presentation of Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well generously provided by the Tom Slaughter Exhibition Fund and the PS1 Trustee Annual Fund.

Special thanks to Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Images

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Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz The AIDS Crisis is Still Beginning (2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna be Well on view at MoMA PS1 May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz The AIDS Crisis is Still Beginning (2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Installation view of exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna be Well on view at MoMA PS1 May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Drive (2002/2019/2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

 

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Drive (2002/2019/2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Drive (2002/2019/2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

 

Installation view of exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna be Well on view at MoMA PS1 May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view of exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz self-portraits in mirror (1996) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Fast Trip, Long Drop (1993) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

 

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Portraits of People Living With HIV: Episodes 1-9 (1992-1995) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna be Well on view at MoMA PS1 May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view of exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Kaisergruft (2008-2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Installation view of exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Selections from Gregg Bordowitz’s library (1983-2013) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

 

Installation view of exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

 

Installation view of Lee Schy Selections from The Extended Family Vacation (1984) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna be Well on view at MoMA PS1 May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view of exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna be Well on view at MoMA PS1 May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Pestsäule (after Erwin Thorn) (2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo:  Kyle Knodell

 

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Pestsäule (after Erwin Thorn) (2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna be Well on view at MoMA PS1 May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Pestsäule (after Erwin Thorn) (2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kyle Knodell

 

Installation view of Gregg Bordowitz Tetragrammaton (2021) in exhibition Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well on view at MoMA PS1 from May 13 to October 11, 2021. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photo: Kris Graves

Gregg Bordowitz, still from Habit. 2001. Digital video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Gregg Bordowitz, still from Habit. 2001. Digital video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Gregg Bordowitz. self-portraits in mirror. 1996. Graphite on paper. 11 x 8.5 in. Courtesy of the artist. 

Gregg Bordowitz. self-portraits in mirror. 1996. Graphite on paper. 11 x 8.5 in. Courtesy of the artist. 

Gregg Bordowitz. self-portraits in mirror. 1996. Graphite on paper. 11 x 8.5 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Gregg Bordowitz, still from Fast Trip Long Drop. 1993. Video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Gregg Bordowitz, still from Fast Trip Long Drop. 1993. Video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Gregg Bordowitz, still from A Cloud in Trousers. 1995. Video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Portrait of Gregg Bordowitz. 1987. Gelatin silver print. 20 x 16 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Lee Schy (1959–1995).

Gregg Bordowitz addressing AIDS Activists during protest in NYC. 1988. Gelatin silver print 8 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Lee Snider

Gregg Bordowitz addressing the crowd at ACT UP rally, NYC. 1988. Color photograph. 5 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photographer unknown.

Gregg Bordowitz addressing a crowd in front of the Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, 1988. Color snapshot. Courtesy the artist.

Gregg Bordowitz with David Meieran filming for Testing the Limits Video Collective, Washington, DC. 1987. Color photograph. 5 x 3 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photographer unknown.

Gregg Bordowitz & Morgan Bassichis. The Fast That I Want.  2020. Video (color, sound). Courtesy the artists.

Gregg Bordowitz, still from Only Idiots Smile. 2017. Video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Gregg Bordowitz, still from some aspect of a shared lifestyle. 1986.  Video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Gregg Bordowitz, still from Portraits of People Living with HIV: Episodes 1-9. 1992-1995. Video (color, sound). Courtesy the artist and Video Data Bank at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago