Brian Dettmer (b. 1974) For over fifteen years, Dettmer has made technically proficient sculptural works by altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions. Through meticulous dissection, excavation, and concise alteration Dettmer edits communicative objects such as books, maps, tapes and other media. The medium’s role transforms. Its content is re-contextualized and new meanings or interpretations emerge. Dettmer’s works have been exhibited internationally in institutions including the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), NY; The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, DC; The Chicago Cultural Center, IL; The High Museum, GA; The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, GA; and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, VA. In 2014, Brian Dettmer was the subject of a ten year retrospective at the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy. Dettmer’s sculptures can be found in the permanent collection of several notable institutions including: the Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC; The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, IL; The High Museum, GA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, GA; and the Yale University Art Gallery, CT. He has recently lectured at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and The New York Public Library in New York. In 2014, he spoke at the TED Youth conference. Dettmer’s first exhibition at P·P·O·W will be in 2016.
Hunter Reynolds (b. 1959) Reynolds has been using photography, performance and installation to express his experience as an HIV positive gay man. He was an early member of ACT UP, and in 1989 co-founded Art Positive, an affinity group of ACT UP to fight homophobia and censorship in the arts. His work addresses issues of gender, identity, socio-politics, sexual histories, mourning, loss, survival, hope and healing. Coinciding with his solo exhibition Survival AIDS Medication Reminder, currently on view at P.P.O.W until October 17th, are Reynolds’ latest series of photo weavings. The works are comprised from c-print grid-collages of scanned newspaper clippings that Reynolds began collecting between 1989 and 1993. Reynolds arranges the clippings by formal and thematic connections then layers images that reference his various modes of artistic practice; spots of his HIV-positive blood; portraits of Patina Du Prey, his gender-fluid alter ego; and images of his Mummification performances in which he is wrapped in cellophane and tape that forms a skin from which he emerges. Through his layering of media, Reynolds has abstracted messages and infused his own images to create a space within the work where experienced and report, artist and audience, and present and past exist simultaneously. Reynolds has had numerous solo exhibitions including: White Columns, NY; Simon Watson Gallery, NY; Creative Time, NY; Momenta, NY; Bernard Toale Gallery, MA; ICA Boston, MA; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, CA; NGBK Berlin, Germany; and DOCUMENTA, Germany. His work is in numerous public and private collections including The Society for Contemporary Art Chicago, IL; Yale University Art Gallery, CT; the Addison Gallery of American Art, MA and The Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland, MD. The Fales Library and Special Collections/New York University houses the archives of Hunter Reynolds in its Downtown Collection.
Timothy Wehrle (b. 1978) idealizes and reinvents the world through his work, enriching it to the point of near-fetishism. As the artist claims, “In my work I render everything with sweetness: faces, colors, characters, settings, everything…because this is a world I have created, and to me it is real, and the sweetness in the work is the sweetness that has been missing in the world around me.” Wehrle’s work explores dream narratives that dance between the visionary experience, music, and the politics of resisting marginalization. His drawings poetically unwrap the concept of a Cold War of the soul in a new world, where the artist-citizen is constantly acted upon by encroaching depersonalization, however, Wehrle is able to resist and ultimately strike back utilizing dreams, visions and art-making. Wehrle manages to combine inner and outer worlds in such a way that the viewer is drawn in and able to reveal their own potential to be healed by his work. Wehrle has had solo exhibitions at John Michael Kohler Arts Center, WI; Des Moines Art Center, IA; and Cavin-Morris Gallery, NY. In March 2016, Wehrle will present his first solo exhibition at P.P.O.W.
David Wojnarowicz (1954 – 1992) channeled a vast accumulation of raw images, sounds, memories and lived experiences into a powerful voice that was an undeniable presence in the New York City art scene of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. Through his several volumes of fiction, poetry, memoirs, painting, photography, installation, sculpture, film and performance, Wojnarowicz left a legacy, affirming art’s vivifying power in a society he viewed as alienating and corrosive. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS-related complications on July 22, 1992 at the age of 37. His artwork has been included in solo and group exhibitions around the world, at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The American Center, Paris, France; The Busan Museum of Modern Art, Korea; Centro Galego de Art Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Barbican Art Gallery, London; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne Germany. His works are in permanent collections of major museums internationally and the subject of significant scholarly studies. Highly influential to the current generation of artists, writers and activists, his work continues to be subject of important exhibitions. Wojnarowicz has been the subject of three retrospectives, at the galleries of the Illinois State University in 1990 curated by Barry Blinderman and at the New Museum in 1999 curated by Dan Cameron. His forthcoming traveling retrospective will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Fall of 2016, co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin. Among his numerous books, published by Random House and Grove Press, among others, his memoir, "Close to the Knives" has recently been translated into French. In 2013, historian Cynthia Carr released an acclaimed biography on Wojnarowicz entitled Fire in the Belly. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Wojnarowicz’s work will be featured in Art, AIDS, America, an exhibition traveling to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Zuckerman Museum of Art, and the Bronx Museum of Art.
Martin Wong (1946-1999) was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in San Francisco, California. Wong's works are charged with a multitude of levels that address the artist's personal, poetic and social concerns, reflecting a sense of compassion and self-identification that still resonates today. He studied ceramics at Humboldt State University, graduating in 1968. During the '70s he was active in the San Francisco Bay Area art scene, and was involved with the performance art groups The Cockettes and Angels of Light. In 1978 he moved to Manhattan, eventually settling in the Lower East Side, where his attention turned exclusively to painting. Wong set forth to depict urban life on the Lower East Side where he then lived. Through his visual diary he built a landscape of stacked bricks, crumbling tenements, constellations and hand signals. His narratives were populated by the neighborhood's denizens including firemen, the incarcerated, graffiti artists, and families, including his friend and poet, Miguel Piñero. Wong died in San Francisco from an AIDS related illness in 1999. Wong's work can be found in museum collections including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Bronx Museum, de Young Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and The Cleveland Museum of Art. He had a one person show Sweet Oblivion at the New Museum in 1998. In 2013 the exhibition City as Canvas: New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection, organized by Carlo McCormick and Sean Corcoran, opened at the Museum of the City of New York. Wong will have a retrospective, Human Instamatic, which opens at the Bronx Museum of Art in November of 2015.