David Wojnarowicz: A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side

Giancarlo Ambrosino, Editor, Sylvere Lotringer, Editor Semiotext(e) $29.95 (231p) ISBN 978-1-58435-035-4
Artist, activist and icon of Manhattan's East Village in the 1980s, David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) worked in a wide range of media-from paintings to video to still photography to collage to rock and roll-emphasizing collaboration and community, and informed by his outrage against America's treatment of outsiders, in particular those suffering with AIDS. The volume's first part gathers 16 of cultural theorist Lotringer's interviews with Wojnarowicz's associates and intimates following his 1992 death, including prominent scenesters Carlo McCormick, Richard Kern, Bill Rice and Kiki Smith. Each interview is tagged, Web 2.0 style, with general subject headings-such as ""The Pyramid Club,"" ""ACT-UP"" or ""3 Teens Kill 4,"" Wojnarowicz's rock band-making for easy reference, but a bio for each interview subject might have proved more useful. Part two consists of three interviews with Wojnarowicz himself, conducted respectively by Lotringer, Wojnarowicz's close friend and photographer Nan Goldin, and the prosecuting attorney in a suit brought by Wojnarowicz against the American Family Association, who used his work in a pamphlet meant to discredit the NEA. Though a fascinating document, generously illustrated with artwork reproductions and photos from the era, this volume is less than definitive-there's no introduction to Wojnarowicz's life, nor to the artistic or political movements of the time-making it a work for those already immersed in the cultural history of the East Village.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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