David Wojnarowicz

Born in 1954, David Wojnarowicz is a figure of the New-York art scene in East Village during the 1980s. A homosexual activist and outspoken critic of American society, he died of Aids in 1992. His photo series Rimbaud in New York (1978-1979, is a set of views of the city representing a man wearing a mask of Arthur Rimbaud, copy of a photograph made by the famous French portraitist Etienne Carjat. The series immortalizes a historic period for the city, then a symbol of bohemian life, mix of carelessness, love, sex and art. In such a context, and rich with his personal experience, Wojnarowicz naturally identifies himself to the young romantic poet, turning him into a contemporary character posing in various neighborhoods of the city. A selection of his images have been edited but the artist’s archives, held by the Fales Library in New York, reveal a more important and more diversified production, including these photobooth strips, sort of modern self-portraits of the “ cursed poet”. (Credit: Self-Portrait with Rimbaud Mask in a Photobooth [Autoportrait avec le masque de Rimbaud dans un photomaton]© Estate of David Wojnarowicz / courtesy Fales Library, New York)