The savage, beautiful, and unforgettable memoirs of an extraordinary artist, activist, and iconoclast who lit up the New York art scene in the late twentieth century
David Wojnarowicz's brief but eventful life was not easy. From a suburban adolescence marked by neglect, drugs, prostitution, and abuse to a squalid life on the streets of New York City, to fame--and infamy--as an activist and controversial visual artist whose work was lambasted in the halls of Congress, all before his early death from AIDS at age thirty-seven, Wojnarowicz seemed to be at war with a homophobic "establishment" and the world itself. Yet what emerged from the darkness was a truly extraordinary artist and human being--an angry young man of remarkable poetic sensibilities who was inordinately sympathetic to those who, like him, lived and struggled outside society's boundaries.
Close to the Knives is his searing yet strangely beautiful account told in a collection of powerful essays. An author whom reviewers have compared to Kerouac and Genet, David Wojnarowicz mesmerizes, horrifies, and delights in equal measure with his unabashed honesty. At once savage and funny, poignant and sexy, compassionate and unforgiving, his words and stories cut like knives, leaving indelible marks on all who read them.
David Wojnarowicz has caught the age-old voice of the road, the voice of the traveller, the outcast, the thief, the whore ... Pick up this book and listen -- William S. Burroughs My book of a lifetime, my book for these dark times, an antidote to stupidity, cruelty and oppression of all kinds -- Olivia Laing * Guardian * Wojnarowicz's writing fairly smokes with acrid ironies. It's passionate and personal * New York Magazine * David Wojnarowicz is brilliantly attuned to American talk and responsive to the moods and innovations of society's truants. He also has the best conscience of any writer I know. This fierce, erotic, haunting, truthful book should be given to every teenager immediately -- Dennis Cooper Everyone should read Close to the Knives to understand the overall political agenda behind suffering ... This isn't just David's story, it's our story -- Karen Finley David Wojnarowicz: still fighting prejudice 24 years after his death ... Nothing I have ever read matches the fury and grief of this writing -- Olivia Laing * Guardian *
David Wojnarowicz authored five books. His artwork is in numerous private and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, among other institutions. In addition to his artwork, Wojnarowicz attained national prominence as a writer and advocate for AIDS awareness, and for his stance against censorship. He died from AIDS in 1992.