Interview with Melissa Harris by Diana Kamin and Marvin Taylor on 8-22-2016
Melissa Harris is editor-in-chief at the Aperture Foundation. She first met Wojnarowicz when she was working as an editorial assistant at Artforum in 1989 while fact-checking for a feature story. Later, while an editor at Aperture, she proposed a monographic issue on Wojnarowicz, which was published as Brush Fires in the Social Landscape in 1994, and reprinted in an expanded 2nd edition in 2015. This publication began as a collaboration with Wojnarowicz initiated in 1992, but was completed posthumously.
Discusses seeing Wojnarowicz’s work for the first time and meeting him at Artforum (p. 1-3; 00:00-06:20min); describes putting together the Aperture issue “The Body in Question” and introducing Wojnarowicz’s work to editor Michael Hoffman (p. 3-4, 6:20-9:42min, 12:47-14:30min); discusses an invited performance/reading Wojnarowicz did at Aperture in 1990 (p. 3-4; 09:45-12:47min); describes proposing a monographic issue on Wojnarowicz to Aperture editors and to Wojnarowicz, working out the details with Wojnarowicz while he was in the hospital in 1992 (p. 6-8, p. 11- 12; 18:15-29:04min, 39:00-44:35min); discusses continuing work on the issue after Wojnarowicz’s death in July 1992 (p. 8-11; 29:04-39:00min); responds to Marvin Taylor’s questions regarding the photographic material in Fales collection which is labeled with Aperture numbers (p. 12-13, p.14-17; 44:36-45:40min, 51:50-57:20min); discusses including Untitled (Face in Dirt) in 40th Anniversary issue of Aperture in 1992 (p. 13-14, 45:40-51:17min); asserts that conversations with Wojnarowicz centered primarily on politics, rather than production (p. 18; 61:15-63:50min); discusses editing the 2nd edition of Brush Fires in a Social Landscape (p. 20-21; 67:45-73:25min)