MUSES FROM CHAOS AND ASH by Andréa R. Vaucher

MUSES FROM CHAOS AND ASH

AIDS, Artists, and Art
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Honestly assessing their own responses and directions after testing HIV-positive, a number of prominent gay artists speak at length in interviews compiled by cultural critic Vaucher (The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, etc.). Vaucher attempts a cross-cultural overview of the effect of the AIDS epidemic on novelists, poets, filmmakers, dancers, painters, designers, and photographers in the US and France. While figures such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Keith Haring have only a limited presence--dying before the project began--others such as Marlon Riggs (director of the film Tongues United), Edmund White (A Boy's Own Story and other novels), and David Wojnarowicz (painter, filmmaker, author) speak at length about their lives and their art. In remarks arranged thematically and prefaced by Vaucher, the artists, evincing a remarkable degree of acceptance and creative enthusiasm, offer insight into how they approach anger, activism, sexuality, spirituality, death, and freedom in light of testing HIV positive. As Riggs comments about his new-found freedom, ``It's extremely liberating to live with the knowledge that you may die the next moment.'' But despair and rage also are present in these voices, and the complex array of feelings that ultimately emerges- -together with a unanimous renewal of commitment to artistic endeavor--makes the interviews both distinctive and deeply tragic. A valuable addition to AIDS literature--but also striking for what it reveals of today's artistic temperament as filtered through gay experience.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8021-1413-X
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Grove
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993




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