By Henry Giardina
When you think about art made during the early years of the AIDS epidemic, David Wojnarowicz’s work—along with that of Félix González-Torres, Keith Haring, and Darrel Ellis—springs to mind. The activist, artist and writer lived only the age of 37 before dying from complications due to HIV. In that short amount of time, he accomplished plenty, including short films, performance art pieces, his unflinchingly honest autobiography “Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration.”
He also did a whole lot of f*cking, and made a lot of art about it.
The small press Primary Info has gotten ahold of the correspondence between Wojnarowicz and his French lover Jean Pierre Delage, which spanned from 1979 to 1982.
This isn’t the first time the letters have been revealed to the public: this April, the correspondence formed the centerpiece of an exhibition at New York’s PPOW Gallery.
But in early 2023, they’ll be available in book form.
“I went to Paris and scanned all of [the letters] in 2008,” Wojnarowicz biographer Cynthia Carr told AnOther ahead of the gallery show. “They were so valuable in terms of writing the book (2012’s “Fire in the Belly”) because that’s where he was talking about how he was making a living, where he was living, and what the new work was. He talked about the Arthur Rimbaud in New York pieces, and how he wanted to make a film called Heroin. I found all these Rimbaud pictures that David had sent him, and they were printed small because David couldn’t afford the paper. I remember saying to Jean Pierre, ‘Do you know how valuable these are now in the art world?’ He said, ‘I don’t care. I’m not selling anything ever.’”
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By Henry Giardina