Currently reading : “If I die of AIDS – forget burial – just drop my body on the steps of the F.D.A.” David Wojnarowicz
Thanks to New York University’s Fales Library the journals of multimedia artist and social activist David Wojnarowicz have been digitalized and made available to view in full online. Containing personal tales of the unsung hero’s travels across Europe and America and correspondence with those he became associated with alongside the developmental processes of his art and film work, the catalogued pages are dated from 1971 to 1991 shortly before the artist’s own death from an AIDs related illness in 1992.
The artist was known to be the lover of photographer Peter Hujar (most noted for his photography of American actress Candy Darling on her deathbed) before his death from AIDS complications in 1987, after which the Wojnarowicz’s work became heavily concerned with and driven by the social and legal injustices inherent in the response to the AIDS epidemic, summed up so succinctly a jacket worn by the artist at a demonstration emblazoned with the words “If I die of AIDS – forget burial – just drop my body on the steps of the F.D.A.” [the American Food and Drug Administration at the centre of controversy surrounding the mismanagement of responses to the AIDS epidemic].
Sadly the battle against the injustices highlighted in his work continued long after his death, even recently in 2010 the Smithsonian removed and edited footage from Wojnarowicz’s short fiilm A Fire in My Belly following complaints from members of religious groups, his journals act as a lasting reminder of the need to demand the basic rights that are so sadly still denied in the shadows of the often not so far flung corners of the world.
See the papers in full here.