Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz

Cynthia Carr, Author, C. Carr, Author, John Carr, Author
Cynthia Carr. Bloomsbury, $30 (640p) ISBN 978-1-59691-533-6
Reviewed on: 04/02/2012
Release date: 07/17/2012
Paperback - 613 pages - 978-1-60819-419-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-60819-420-9
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In this lucidly composed, skillfully contextualized first complete biography of David Wojnarowicz, former Village Voice reporter Carr (Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America) reveals how the controversial artist’s life experience shaped his art and politics. Carr begins by describing Wojnarowicz’s abusive, chaotic childhood, which couldn’t be redeemed despite his intense love for drawing. Tracing his early life as a withdrawn, unstable student, sometime hustler, and store clerk in the troubled New York of the late 1960s and early ’70s, Carr reveals the artist’s struggle to express his emerging gay identity and the violent intensity of his family life. Meeting fellow artist Peter Hujar, who became his partner and artistic mentor, was a turning point in Wojnarowicz’s life: “‘Everything I made, I made for Peter.’” Vividly detailing the East Village art scene and Wojnarowicz’s place in it, Carr also depicts the personal and professional significance of his relationships with female artists like Kiki Smith, Judy Glantzman, and Karen Finley. The most powerful sections of this engrossing book give insight into the intersection between the culture wars of the early 1990s and Wojnarowicz’s 1991 work, Tongues of Flame. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency. (July)
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