In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz

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9780802116321: In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz

Few artists in the late twentieth century have captured the emotional, sexual, and political chaos of urban life as well as David Wojnarowicz. In the Shadow of the American Dream chronicles Wojnarowicz's life from age seventeen until his AIDS-related death at thirty-seven. An introspective writer and a radical artist, Wojnarowicz unequivocally defied bigotry even as he became a target for the right wing.Wojnarowicz's diaries tell the story of his emergence as an artist and writer, from when he published his first photographs and began writing what would become The Waterfront Journals, to his traveling through Europe as a renowned painter and completing his tour de force, Close to the Knives. In the Shadow of the American Dream is, finally, a record of the private Wojnarowicz, falling in love for the first time, exploring erotic possibilities on the Hudson River piers, becoming overwhelmed by the demands of survival, and searching for the pleasure and freedom he believed one could live on.

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Review:

At the time of his death in 1992, David Wojnarowicz was one of the most vital and important names in the New York arts scene. His openness about his HIV status and engagement in public debates about health care and AIDS policy placed his highly political and determinedly provocative art and writing in a new context. In the Shadow of the American Dream is a collection of journal entries from 1971 (when he was 17) to his death. As he alternates between living on New York's Lower East Side and hitchhiking around the country, we can see the evolution of the artist not only as a young man beginning to understand his life and the world but as a social and political critic.

Wojnarowicz's life was difficult--from his unhappy childhood and adolescence to periods of homelessness and ostracism, coupled with overwhelming despair and loneliness. Yet, ultimately, In the Shadow of the American Dream is a joyful book. We see how Wojnarowicz's art became his salvation--even in the face of AIDS--and his life finally opened and expanded to be able to include other people in ways that never happened before, including a close friendship with photographer Peter Hujar. Wojnarowicz also presents us with insightful commentary on the New York arts scene and the enormous effect AIDS had on gay male life and culture. While In the Shadow of the American Dream is a moving, sometimes frightening self-examination of the life of a gay artist, it is also testimony to how mainstream America treats not only its artists but its radicals and visionaries. --Michael Bronski

From the Back Cover:

Few artists in the late twentieth century have captured the emotional, sexual, and political chaos of urban life like David Wojnarowicz. In the Shadow of the American Dream chronicles Wojnarowicz's life from age seventeen until his AIDS-related death at thirty-seven, and draws on his experiences at the margins of American society. After his HIV+ diagnosis Wojnarowicz engaged in highly public debates about health care, homophobia, and censorship, creating deeply political art even as he became a target for the right wing.

In the Shadow of the American Dream tells the story of Wojnarowicz's emergence as an artist and writer: from publishing his first photographs-the Arthur Rimbaud in New York series-and writing monologues based on the world of outsiders he encountered; to touring Europe as a renowned painter and publishing his tour de force, Close to the Knives. In the Shadow of the American Dream offers an intimate glimpse of the New York art scene in the 1980s, and is finally a record of the private Wojnarowicz, falling in love for the first time, exploring erotic possibilities on the Hudson River piers, becoming overwhelmed by the demands of survival, and searching for the pleasure and freedom he believed one could live on.

"These are well-chosen diary excerpts-beginning with an Outward Bound excursion in 1971 and concluding with the final entry from 1991."-Library Journal

"AS in his excellent collection, Close to the Knives, these sad yet unsentimental stories of his own and other's decline are unforgettable."-Publishers Weekly

"A harrowing journal of lust, creativity, and privation . . . In its rough, raw vitality, his diary still gives testament to the lives that remained in his heart and the inspiration he quite literally drew from them."-Kirkus Reviews

"Eat this memory cookie if you dare to feel anxious, edgy, horny and free."-Brad Gooch

"He could leave toothmarks on the memory. . . . Many who have encountered him on the page or on the wall can still admire the raw passion, intelligence, and transforming energy with which he met his fate."-The New York Times

"If Mapplethorpe was the classicist of the gay subculture, Wojnarowicz is its Rimbaud figure, its emissary from the lower depths of fixated desire. . . . He is a naturally incensed writer, in the William Burroughs mode, living so far over the edge that his words fly free."-New York

"There's a power in [Wojnarowicz's] writing that is consistent with the power of the continuum from which he comes. . . . [It] deserves to be considered alongside the literature of outsiders who have become institutions, such as Rimbaud, Lautramont, Genet, Ginsberg, Burroughs, or Hubert Selby, Jr."-Seconds

David Wojnarowicz (1955-1992)-painter, photographer, filmmaker, performance artist, AIDS activist-was the author of Close to the Knives, The Waterfront Journals, and Memories that Smell like Gasoline. Amy Scholder is the founding editor of High Risk Books/Serpent's Tail and of Artspace Books. She has also edited literary, art, and nonfiction books for City Lights Publishers, Crown Books, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, and Rizzoli.

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Wojnarowicz, David
Editore: Grove Pr (1998)
ISBN 10: 0802116329 ISBN 13: 9780802116321
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Descrizione libro Grove Pr, 1998. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110802116329

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David Wojnarowicz
Editore: Grove Pr (1998)
ISBN 10: 0802116329 ISBN 13: 9780802116321
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Descrizione libro Grove Pr, 1998. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 802116329

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