david wojnarowicz

Alex Dimitrov: “It’s My Book”

alex on lion


The writer Ted Rees takes real issue with Alex Dimitrov’s decision to use a photograph from David Wojnarowicz’s Rimbaud in New York series as the cover of his book. Rees is clearly disturbed by this and over on his Tumblr (HARM MASSAGE) he fleshes out what he considers to be “a multitude of problems” in the form of a letter (DEAR ALEX DIMITROV) that you can read in full here .


Here, now though, is an extract from Rees’ letter:

…your use of Wojnarowicz’s photograph is, to quote a friend, “one of the most unconscionable appropriations” of another’s artwork that I’ve seen in years. It speaks to a self-importance wrapped in ignorance at best, and a type of colonialism at its worst. Through social and perhaps physical capital, you have acquired an image, totally denuded it of its creator’s political and social intentions, and made it into what you imagine is a reflection, and thereby a representation, of yourself and your work. The act debases Wojnarowicz, whose life was punctuated by poverty, hardship, confusion, and resistance, and whose work attempted to bring attention to how these elements worked on his own life as well as the lives of those around him.


begging for it final


And, to follow, now, is the transcript of a little Q & A that I did with Alex:


Rauan: You don’t seem too bothered by Rees’ criticisms. But could you tell us why you chose the Rimbaud Wojnarowicz piece for your cover?

Alex: Wojnarowicz’s work is important to me—the anger and passion READ MORE >

Author News & Behind the Scenes / 8 Comments
September 5th, 2013 / 4:22 pm


I wanted to write about this, or at least mention it here, because it’s occupying my mind to the point where I feel guilty for spending two hours recording videos of myself singing songs by Ke$ha , watching a shitty horror movie, or even listening to stoner metal last night. Hell, basically the fact that I did anything other than “be angry” is making me feel guilty. But on the other hand I know that’s ridiculous, and that the unfortunate fact of the matter is being angry wouldn’t have accomplished anything. To be fair nothing I actually did accomplished anything either. I don’t know what I could have done that would have been helpful, so I guess getting the information out to people who don’t know is something I can do at least.

The above video is a 4 minute and 11 second excerpt from David Wojnarowicz’s experimental film Fire in My Belly. This is all I’ve seen of the film (in fact I didn’t even know that this was only an excerpt, as opposed to the entire film, until yesterday), but I’ve watched it a lot. Wojnarowicz is an artist that I find really powerful, both from the entire scope of his life story and in the art he produced itself.

By 16, Wojnarowicz had dropped out of high school and was living on the streets, due to a shitty home life and the terror he faced due to his own homosexuality. Homeless, he hustled for a living, eventually hitchhiking cross-country a few times before settling in NYC in the late 70s. In the 1980s he was diagnosed with AIDS.

Not to pull attention away from his earlier works–virtually everything he made throughout his visible life as an artist is amazing–but the work he started to make after being diagnosed, well, the work was angry. David Wojnarowicz was angry because he was invisible–because queers were invisible. Something that he said, that I think is really fucking just so to the point, is what follows:

‎”I want to throw up because we’re supposed to quietly and politely make house in this killing machine called America and pay taxes to support our own slow murder and I’m amazed we’re not running amok in the streets, and that we can still be capable of gestures of loving after lifetimes of all this.”


Random / 31 Comments
December 2nd, 2010 / 12:00 pm