David Wojnarowicz was an important artist. I am not so sure why. What I have seen of his work is good and subversive in a way but not great. I mean the Rimbaud head photographs are good. Some of the paintings are good. His films seem to be ok but maybe I need to watch more of them. The one that I saw was not very good. His band, the music he made from what I have heard did not appeal to me but maybe I need to listen to more of it. Normally, the first time I hear a band if I don’t like the first song of theirs that I hear I will not listen to any more of them. I did not like the song I heard from the band that he was in. So his work as far as I am concerned was ok. Nothing that really inspires anything creative or purposeful in me. His writing is good. His articulations are good. He was a very smart human being. His tape recordings of him speaking about himself are very good and insightful, subversive and creative. A lot of his writing is too much about gay sex for me to be able to maintain interest but he is a good writer. A highly creative and imaginative thinker. This is what inspires me about David Wojnarowicz- his mind. His quality of thought. He is so subversive and imaginative and philosophical in his thought. He goes far beyond most humans. He is a high intelligence human being in a non-conformist and highly imaginative way. He sees far beyond the boundaries conditioned into all of us by society (other people) and routine. His thought process breaks free from all convention. His thought process is very non-conformist, radical and truly original. There is a high degree of clarity and non-banality in his thinking. This is where David Wojnarowicz has made the greatest impact on me- in his thinking. Not his art, not his music, not his films, not even his writings- but his thought was truly what was extraordinary about the man. His thoughts about pre-invented existence, his thoughts about death and dying, his thoughts about sex and disease, his thoughts about politics and social conditioning, his thoughts about work and culture and socializing and solitude and systems of power and ALIENATION and career and money and vice and transgression and drugs and addiction and all the real life kind of stuff. He had such interesting insight in these matters and this is what has impacted me the most in my encounters with Wojnarowicz. He was the kind of person that I would like to have as a friend. He is the kind of person I wish that I could meet and get to know. Hang out with. I am not thrilled about his art but I really like him. His greatest art is his thought and there is no one that I personally know whom I can say this about and yet I think that is what a “real artist” is. Someone whose thought is their greatest art. When we are conformed our thought becomes banal and ordinary. We think the same general things as everyone else. A real artist has not given into this banality of thought. Any great artist who has distinguished themselves it is because their way of thinking is an art. Artists whose way of thinking is ordinary and just like everyone else- are not distinguished artists. They may sell in galleries and teach at universities but their impact is small, materialistic and will be forgotten by history. Most artists today have thought processes that are not exceptional and unique at all. They are artists by profession and not by soul. The goal of every artist should be first and foremost be to make their thoughts their main art. To refine and de-conditionalize their thought process and become so unique and insightful in thought that their work will not be able to compete with how extraordinary their thought-life is. But maybe this can not be created. Maybe people are either born with this distinction or not. I think it comes from being intelligent and as a result really seeing into the true nature of things. Most artists are still highly conformed and limited in their thought. Their vision is shallow. The masses can relate to these kinds of artists and that is why these kinds of artists are the most successful. The masses can not relate to someone with an intellectual depth of insight. But the one thing that I find unrelatable about David Wojnarowicz is that his thought on certain themes does lack a kind of maturity. He has still not done enough work on himself to find acceptance in death. He is still non-accepting of the reality of death and as a result his rage is strong. I understand that David was still young when he died and a large part of being young is this rage (I wish he could have lived longer because I would be curious to see how he would be if still alive today). I suppose this rage is an important aspect of the fear and non-acceptance of things that was within him. This rage can be incredibly fertile territory for creativity and motivated much of his later work (once AIDS kicked in). I just have a hard time relating to it. There is something adolescent about his rage and fear of death. But it is this adolescent, almost innocent quality of Wojnarowicz’s thought that makes his expression so powerful and radical. I suppose I am being a jerk in having judgement with regards to his rage and fear because who knows, if I got AIDS or some kind of socially-created terminal disease that I would not find myself filled with the same kind of rage and fear. Maybe I would be completely accepting and at peace or maybe I would be terrified and in a rage. It is hard to say unless you find yourself there. It is his fear and rage that makes his work interesting. Someone who is at peace and completely accepting does not have very interesting ideas about things. Their art is dull. Resigned. Maybe this is why I struggle most with David Wojnarowicz- he reminds me of what I have let myself become. As an artist, he reminds me of what I have let go of as I have grown older, more comfortable, more suburban, more smartphone addicted and of how I have allowed a lot of my thought processes to grow numb, ordinary, resigned and bitter. Maybe this is why I am struggling to continue reading the man.
Zev Bauhaus 4 Minutes
Published by Zev Bauhaus