David Wojnarowicz: Flesh of My FleshICEBERG PROJECTS, 2018 / 114 PAGES / ED. DR. DANIEL S. BERGER
David Wojnarowicz is one of the most important artists emerging from the New York art world of the 1980s. While his work spanned less than 20 years — his life was cut short due to AIDS at the age of 37 — he created a large body of work in collage, painting, performance, sculpture, writing and video. The exhibition at Iceberg Projects in 2018, David Wojnarowicz: Flesh of My Flesh, is the first solo show of the artist in Chicago, focusing on corporeal themes and motifs that he used throughout his career.
Richly illustrated, this book documents the exhibition at Iceberg Projects, the film program at the Block Museum at Northwestern University, and the transcript of Dr. Daniel S. Berger and Barry Blinderman in conversation. It also includes essays of Dr. Berger, Elijah Burgher, and Wendy Olsoff.
Militant Eroticism: The Art+Positive ArchivesSTERNBERG PRESS, 2017 / 130 PAGES / EDS. DR. DANIEL S. BERGER AND JOHN NEFF
This book is the first survey of the art and practice of Art+Positive, a significant affinity group of ACT UP New York during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Staging self-initiated actions, and also participating in larger demonstrations organized by ACT UP, Art+Positive practiced an improvisational approach to activism at the intersection of the AIDS crisis and the culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their multiplatform projects were especially focused on fighting AIDS phobia, censorship, homophobia, misogyny, and racism within the art world. Members, collaborators, and contributors to Art+Positive included artists Lola Flash, Nan Goldin, Aldo Hernández, Zoe Leonard, Ray Navarro, Hunter Reynolds, Catherine (Saalfield) Gunn, Julie Tolentino, and David Wojnarowicz.
The Art+Positive archives, assembled by Hunter Reynolds in the mid-1990s, were out of public view for more than twenty years. Dr. Daniel S. Berger acquired the group’s archives in early 2015. Shortly thereafter, he and artist John Neff presented an exhibition of the archives at Iceberg Projects. Militant Eroticism: The ART+Positive Archives documents that exhibition and is extensively illustrated with artworks, documents, protest ephemera, and meeting notes from the Art+Positive archives. Also included are essays by Berger, Neff, and former ACT UP member and scholar Debra Levine. These essays are presented alongside previously unpublished writings by Ray Navarro, Hunter Reynolds, and David Wojnarowicz.
Broken FlagICEBERG PROJECTS, 2016 / 36 PAGES
Broken Flag was a group exhibition that emerged out of a conversation about queer identity in an ever fractured and precarious American landscape. The flag has historically operated as an allegory in culture and in contemporary art (with Jasper Johns being the most obvious of examples) — but here the flag is stretched to new formal and imaginal limits. In this case, the flag becomes an emblem and an allegory for the possibility of a utopic future, one which we hope will not verge into teetering collapse. These pieces of fabric, glitter, and cloth represent an identity subsumed by late capitalism; they are meta objects, remarking on histories, which are no longer visible (disappeared in the homogeneity of many an(other) identity). They speak to hopefulness and ebullience, as well as to collapse and hopelessness. Where shall we go? And shall we go together or alone?
This publication, an exhibition catalogue pamphlet, includes full-color plates of the artworks in the show; extensive captions describing contexts and critical analysis of each artwork; and texts by co-curators Dr. Daniel S. Berger and Dr. Omar Kholeif.
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Iceberg Projects is an art project space located in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Founded in 2010 by HIV/AIDS researcher Dr. Daniel S. Berger MD, the gallery is programmed by Berger and artist John Neff, a founding Iceberg curatorial board member.
Iceberg is a place for artists, curators, and scholars to develop experimental projects bringing important artists to local and national attention without the bureaucratic pressures associated with non-profit institutions and commercial galleries.
Iceberg’s goal is giving exhibition opportunities to artists that have had little recent exhibition exposure in Chicago. Our programming priority is queer artists, and artists whose work engages with the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Founding curatorial board members:
Dr. Daniel Berger, Doug Ischar, John Neff, Robert McNeil (gallery interior architect)
Past curatorial board members:
Huey Copeland, Dianna Frid, Omar Kholeif, Carrie Schneider, Trisha Van Eyck, Rebecca Walz
Past gallery directors include:
Maggie Wong, Michael Madrigali, Matt Morris (Interim), Zak Arctander
Iceberg does not accept unsolicited proposals for exhibitions.
Oct 21 – Dec 5, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, Oct 21st, 6 – 9 PM
Curated by Daniel Berger and John Neff
Iceberg projects is proud to present a solo exhibition by acclaimed South African artist
Athi-Patra Ruga. Following an initial research trip to the United States earlier this year, Ruga is returning to Chicago with reflections on private archives encountered in the collections of Carl van Vechten’s scrapbooks.
In this exhibition, Ruga uses the archive of 20th century photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten as a starting point to continue his decade-long interest in unpacking the response of black modernists to European and American negrophilia of the early 20th century. Through a series of oil pastel portraits, hand embroidered tapestry, and stained glass, Ruga probes the continued influence of these historical tropes on performativity, agency and representations and of the queer, male, black body.
By creating a series of speculative portraits and studies of Van Vechten’s anonymous muse, Ruga seeks to reimagine an alternative for one nameless model exotically/erotically depicted in Van Vechten’s photographs. In this process, Ruga embodies a type of double consciousness by becoming both the artist and the muse, as he notes:
“ Portraiture is Performance and cannot be viewed without considering the historical, artistic, and political conditions in which the body is commodified for contemplation and by whom the image is consumed.
My intention is to expand on the artist’s studio performance in relation to the autonomy of the studio model whilst taking into account the historical power dynamics of Van Vechten’s images.
By looking back from a contemporary viewpoint, I can intervene in these images as a form of liberation of the young man photographed by Van Vechten.The problematics I am working through are that of realizing that the act of looking can be intimidating for the artist and the model. It is through me welcoming young male models into my studio for sittings that I then perform and react to Van Vechten and the problematics of image making.
In my artistic practice, the forgotten, erased, and problematised characters I depict in my work come from art history, my imagination, from life drawing, and serve as a continuation of my deep look at the complicit body, the eroticised body, and the queer body.
I am focussing on the black male body throughout industrialized history. I do this as a form of beatification and use it as a mechanism to free it from constraints in artistic style , genders, and subjective histories.”
Athi-Patra Ruga - Eastern Cape - Aug 2023
Athi-Patra Ruga is one of the few artists working in South Africa today whose work has adopted the trope of myth as a contemporary response to the post-apartheid era. Ruga creates alternative identities and uses these avatars as a way to parody and critique the existing political and social status quo. Ruga’s artistic approach of creating myths and alternate realities is in some way an attempt to view the traumas of the last 200 years of colonial history from a place of detachment – at a farsighted distance where wounds can be contemplated outside of personalized grief and subjective defensiveness.
The philosophical allure and allegorical value of utopia has been central to Ruga’s practice. His construction of a mythical metaverse populated by characters which he has created and depicted in his work have allowed Ruga to create an interesting space of self reflexivity in which political, cultural and social systems can be critiqued and parodied. Ruga has used his utopia as a lens to process the fraught history of a colonial past, to critique the present and propose a possible humanist vision for the future.
Significant exhibitions and performances include: Ruth Baumgarte Art Prize, Albertina Museum, Vienna; In Travesti, Eva Presenhuber, New York; Kiss My Genders, Haywood Gallery, London; Ravelled Threads, Sean Kelly Gallery, Seattle; Art Afrique, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris; Over the Rainbow, Performa 17, New York; An Age of Our Own Making, Holbaek, Denmark; Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community, Boston Centre for the Arts, Boston; AFRICA: Architecture, Culture and Identity at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; Imaginary Fact at the South African Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale; African Odysseys at The Brass Artscape in Brussels; Public Intimacy at the SFMOMA, San Francisco; The Film Will Always Be You: South African Artists on Screen at the Tate Modern in London; and Making Africa at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Recent projects include Ruga’s collaboration with Dior on designing two handbags for the fourth edition of the Lady Dior Art Bag. Ruga is also the co-founder of Victory of the Word, a fundraising and development project in support of the 200th anniversary of the Lovedale Printing Press in Alice, Eastern Cape, as well as the Artistic Director of BODYLAND, an incubator residency for artists held in the Amathole Village, Hogsback.
His works form part of Private, Public and Museum Collections in South Africa and abroad, namely: the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington DC; the Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Fondation Gandur pour l’Art, Geneva; The Zeitz MOCCA, Cape Town; Museion – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bolzano Italy; CAAC – Pigozzi Collection; The Wedge Collection; and the IZIKO South African National Gallery.