Steve McLean – Post Cards from America (1994)
David Wojnarowicz is recognized as one of the most potent voices of his generation, and his singular artistic achievements place him firmly within a long-standing American tradition of the artist as visionary, rebel and public figure. Art historian and critic John Carlin likens Wojnarowicz to the great American 19th century poet Walt Whitman, the preeminent celebrator of individual freedom. Carlin likens Whitman’s verbal poetry, which was inspired by the rhythms of New York slang and the rhetoric of American journalism, to Wojnarowicz’s visual poetry, which emerged from social history, popular culture, and his own dreams and visions. …In his rebellious struggle against conformity, materialism and mechanization, one can see the formative influence of the 1950s Beat writers on Wojnarowicz’s art. Just as the Beats found America in the 1950s to be a dehumanized prison of exclusionary mainstream values, Wojnarowicz found America in the 1980s to be in a similar ethical state of emergency. His allegiance to the Beats, especially Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs also can be seen in his profound concern with spiritual matters.
—Dan Cameron and Dennis Szakacs, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York
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