David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz's 'Arthur Rimbaud in New York'

Rimbaud Icon: a t-shirt
Rimbaud Icon: a t-shirt

The following is an excerpt, with additions and edits for clarity, from the essay Our Rimbaud Mask forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse this fall. 

Between 1978 and 1980, David Wojnarowicz created the Arthur Rimbaud in New York series, several hundred black-and-white photographs of someone wearing a mask of Rimbaud’s face. The photographs say, “he would have visited Coney Island”; “he would have seen porn in Times Square”; “he would have eaten a hamburger and fries.” Spotting the nineteenth-century French poet in the Big Apple is more than delightful. We, whoever feel addressed by him, are like him, and he is a source for our identification, a root for our identity.

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