Brush Fires in the Social Landscape
Photographs by David Wojnarowicz
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David Wojnarowicz’s use of photography, at times in conjunction with text and painting, was extraordinary, as was his unprecedented way of addressing the AIDS crisis and issues of censorship, homophobia, and narrative. Brush Fires in the Social Landscape, begun in collaboration with the artist before his death in 1992 and first published in 1994, engaged what Wojnarowicz would refer to as his “tribe” or community. Contributors—from artist and writer friends such as Karen Finley, Nan Goldin, Kiki Smith, Vince Aletti, Cynthia Carr, and Lucy R. Lippard, to David Cole, the lawyer who represented him in his case against Donald Wildmon and the American Family Association—together offer a compelling, provocative understanding of the artist and his work. Brush Fires is also the only book that features the breadth of Wojnarowicz’s work with photography.
Now, on the twentieth anniversary of Brush Fires, when interest in the artist’s work has increased exponentially, this expanded and redesigned edition of this seminal publication puts the work in front of an audience all over again while maintaining the integrity of the original. Through the lens of various contributors, the book addresses Wojnarowicz’s profound legacy: the relentless tugs, allegiances, censorship, and ethical issues, alongside his aesthetic brilliance, courage, and influence.
Contributors include: Lucy R. Lippard (introduction), Vince Aletti, Cynthia Carr, David Cole, Karen Finley, Nan Goldin, Elizabeth Hess, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Fran Lebowitz, Carlo McCormick, Tom Rauffenbart, Kiki Smith, James Romberger, Gary Schneider, Melissa Harris, Sylvère Lotringer, Barry Blinderman, Lynne Tillman, Wendy Olsoff, and Marvin J. Taylor.
David Wojnarowicz (born in Redbank, New Jersey, 1954; died in New York, 1992) 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. The Estate of David Wojnarowicz is represented by PPOW.
Lucy R. Lippard (introduction) is a writer, teacher, and activist, as well as the author of sixteen books on contemporary art and the novel I See/You Mean. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Criticism, two National Endowment for the Arts grants in criticism, the Claude Fuess Award for public service, a citation from New York City mayor David Dinkins, and the Smith College Medal, among many other honors and awards.