Jonathan Weinberg’s book will examine a series of works—made by such diverse artists as Vito Acconci, Mike Bidlo, Arch Brown, Judy Glantzman, Joan Jonas, Gordon Matta-Clark, Harry Shunk, Arthur Tress, Robert Whitman, and David Wojnarowicz—that were created in the decayed piers along the waterfront of Manhattan between 1971 and 1983. Weinberg connects aspects of contemporary culture that are usually kept separate: conceptualism and neo-expressionism; performance and painting; straight and gay. For example, Acconci asked people to meet him at an abandoned pier at 1:00 a.m. where he whispered secrets; Matta-Clark cut an arc in the wall of a pier shed; Wojnarowicz planted grass on the pier floors and painted prehistoric creatures; Tress photographed naked men amidst the debris; and Arch Brown filmed a pornographic film there. Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s concept of “literary montage,” Pier Groups will weave interviews, documentary photographs, literary texts, art works, and film stills to show how avant-garde practices and queer identities competed and mingled along the waterfront of Manhattan.Jonathan Weinberg is an independent scholar and painter. He is the author of Male Desire: The Homoerotic in American Art (Abrams, 2005), Ambition and Love in Modern American Art (Yale University Press, 2001), and Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley and the First American Avant-Garde (Yale University Press, 1993). He was previously on the faculty in the Department of Art History at Yale University (1989-2001). Weinberg received a PhD from Harvard University.
2008 — Book
Pier Groups: Art Along the Manhattan Waterfront