It’s a rare artwork that shows us the persistence of our political ills. Back in 1992, David Wojnarowicz’s silkscreen print “Democracy” appeared in the street poster exhibition and artists’ book Your House Is Mine, now featured in Gallery 98’s new exhibition, “Andrew Castrucci and Bullet Space: An Art Squat in the 1980s & ’90s.” What could be more fitting today than Wojnarowicz’s depiction of a grim reaper, cloaked in dollar bills and labeled “Democracy at Work”? He swings his scythe through a group of citizens, who spout drops of blood with labels like “no healthcare,” “corrupt politicians,” “killer cops,” “homelessness,” and “sexism.” A swastika made of dollar bills covers the sun. The image was first printed in black and white; artist James Romberger later prepared the color separations, after Wojnarowicz’s instructions. The complicated five-color print was then executed by Andrew Castrucci, shortly before Wojnarowicz’s death from AIDS.
Your House Is Mine was printed and assembled at the art squat Bullet Space between 1988 and 1992. Castrucci—a member of the squat, and a trained printmaker—worked with leading East Village artists to create silkscreen prints that addressed the social issues then confronting downtown New York. Contributors included James Romberger and Marguerite van Cook, Anton van Dalen, Lady Pink, Lee Quiñones, Avram Finkelstein and Vincent Gagliostro (of the AIDS activist art collective Gran Fury), Seth Tobocman, and Stash Two. As a public street poster project, Your House Is Mine sought to change minds; as an oversize, bound artists’ book, it records a heated moment in politics and culture.
Of the 150 copies printed of Your House Is Mine, several can be found in the collections of leading museums and libraries throughout the United States and Europe. Gallery 98 now has available a limited number of rare copies. Also available, for the first time, are a very few rare artists’ proofs from Your House Is Mine, including both editions (black-and-white and color) of Wojnarowicz’s “Democracy.”