In the Shadow of the American Dream: The Diaries of David Wojnarowicz
Author: David Wojnarowicz
Editor: Amy Scholder
Publisher: Grove Press (2000)
Few artists in the late twentieth century have captured the emotional, sexual, and political chaos of urban life like David Wojnarowicz. In the Shadow of the American Dream chronicles Wojnarowicz’s life from age seventeen until his AIDS-related death at thirty-seven, and draws on his experiences at the margins of American society. After his HIV+ diagnosis Wojnarowicz engaged in highly public debates about health care, homophobia, and censorship, creating deeply political art even as he became a target for the right wing.
In the Shadow of the American Dream tells the story of Wojnarowicz’s emergence as an artist and writer: from publishing his first photographs—the Arthur Rimbaud in New York series—and writing monologues based on the world of outsiders he encountered; to touring Europe as a renowned painter and publishing his tour de force, Close to the Knives. In the Shadow of the American Dream offers an intimate glimpse of the New York art scene in the 1980s, and is finally a record of the private Wojnarowicz, falling in love for the first time, exploring erotic possibilities on the Hudson River piers, becoming overwhelmed by the demands of survival, and searching for the pleasure and freedom he believed one could live on.