Cynthia Carr on "The Life and Times of DAVID WOJNAROWICZ: Fire in the Belly"
An evening with author Cynthia Carr on the occasion of the paperback release of her acclaimed biography "The Life and Times of DAVID WOJNAROWICZ: Fire in the Belly"
"...A thorough and sensitive new biography.. .[Wojnarowicz ] was a painter, a photographer, a writer, a performance artist, a filmmaker and an AIDS activist...whose work helped define the anarchic downtown Manhattan art scene in the 1980s."
-- Dwight Garner, New York Times (named "Fire in the Belly" one of his ten favorite books of the year)
"[Carr's book is]...unimprovable as a biography -- thorough, measured, beautifully written, loving but not uncritical."
- Luc Sante, author, Low Life
"I imagine what it would be like if friends had a demonstration each time a lover or a friend or a stranger died of AIDS. I imagine what it would be like if, each time a lover, friend or stranger died of this disease, their friends, lovers or neighbors would take the dead body and drive with it in a car a hundred miles an hour to washington d.c. and blast through the gates of the white house and come to a screeching halt before the entrance and dump their lifeless form on the front steps."
-- David Wojnarowicz, from an essay in an art exhibition catalog threatened with censorship by funders at the National Endowment for the Arts
One of the first wave of East Village artists which included Jean-Michel Basquiat, Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, Keith Haring, and many others, David Wojnarowicz began showing his work in the early 1980s in galleries such as Civilian Warfare, Club 57, Gracie Mansion, Fashion Moda, and the Limbo Lounge. He was included in the 1985 Whitney Biennial, and soon was appearing in museum and gallery exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America.
Wojnarowicz died in 1992 at the age of 37 from complications with AIDS. In 2010, he was attacked again by fascist Christians (Rep. John Boehner et al) for his video "A Fire in My Belly," in the "Hide/Seek" exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The work included an image of fire ants crawling on a crucifix.
CYNTHIA CARRr is a pre-eminent cultural historian of the New York underground, and has written for ArtForum, LA Weekly, Interview and Mirabella. Her other books include On Edge: Performance at the End of the Twentieth Century and Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America. She was a staff writer for the Village Voice during the 80s, when that paper mattered.