Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker
A documentary by Chris McKim. Streaming at the Cinematheque from Friday (March 19) to April 1.
As this doc’s title suggests, American artist David Wojnarowicz was confrontational, from talking about his abusive childhood and life as a hustler, to his involvement in AIDS activism and willingness to criticize political figures through his art.
Using audio and visual journals, archival material, and interviews with the artist’s contemporaries (including cultural commentator Fran Lebowitz), director Chris McKim and World of Wonder producers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (RuPaul’s Drag Race) show in intimate detail how Wojnarowicz ended up on a collision course with the political culture wars of the day during both an epidemic and a time when the mainstream right was assaulting the free speech of queer artists.
By using only audio narration and archival imagery, the film evokes the grittiness and tenuousness of New York City in the '80s, a transitional time when artists like Wojnarowicz were on the cusp of mainstream success, ironically just as AIDS was cutting their lives tragically short.
What’s most interesting is how McKim softens Wojnarowicz, capturing his vulnerability, playfulness, and tenderness, but also how those sides of him informed the unwavering resolve and honesty he is often remembered for.