Jimmy DeSana: Submission
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This book is the first monograph to present the work of Jimmy DeSana, a pioneering yet underrecognized figure in New York’s downtown art, music, and film scenes during the 1970s and ’80s. The book situates DeSana’s work and life within the countercultural and queer contexts in the American South as well as New York, through his involvement in mail art, punk, and No Wave music and film, and artist collectives and publications. Featuring an original text by Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography at the Brooklyn Museum, it includes his major series that helped create a No Wave aesthetic as well as his portraits of art and music luminaries of the time.
Meet the artist
Jimmy DeSana: Submission is the first monograph of this pioneering queer punk photographer whose brief but prolific career helped elevate the medium of photography within the contemporary art world. This publication traces his brief yet prolific career through nearly two hundred works and over twenty years that bridged mail-art networks, New York’s 1970s and ’80s subcultures, the illuminating image-play of the “Pictures Generation,” and various responses to HIV/AIDS.
The book showcases DeSana’s extensive involvement in zines, artist collectives, performance art, experimental film, and club culture. Included are his most famous series—101 Nudes (1972), his first major work made during Atlanta’s gay liberation movement; Submission (1977–79), created with the writer William Burroughs; and Suburban (1979–84), which showcases his work as an early adopter of color photography. During the late 1970s and early ’80s, DeSana was heavily involved in New York’s punk and No Wave scenes. Included in this book are his portraits of such art and music luminaries as Kathy Acker, Laurie Anderson, Kenneth Anger, Patti Astor, David Byrne, John Giorno, Debbie Harry, and Richard Hell. Accompanying these works are DeSana’s more abstract efforts from the late 1980s, after he was diagnosed with AIDS, that show an artist who resisted dominant narratives about the body and sexuality in the early years of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic.