Dancing on My Own: Essays on Art, Collectivity, and Joy

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$27.99  $26.03
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.4 X 0.9 inches | 0.65 pounds

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About the Author

SIMON WU is a curator and writer involved in collaborative art production and research. He has organized exhibitions and programs at the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, MoMA, and David Zwirner, among other venues. In 2021 he was awarded an Andy Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant and was featured in Cultured magazine's Young Curators series. He was a 2018 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and is currently in the PhD program in History of Art at Yale University. He has two brothers, Nick and Duke, and loves the ocean.


"I will say you won't want to leave. Simon Wu's debut, Dancing on My Own, is a genius melding of art criticism, autobiography, personal essay, and travel writing. Even more, it is an invitation into the art world from Wu's particular Asian-American positionality and consciousness as he determines his place within it. Here, the life lived reflects back its adjacency to generations past through meditations on visual art & culture. Attraction, desire, identity, whiteness, liberalism, "queer ecologies," family, joy, defeat, and survival are all given close readings. Wu--an artist, curator, and writer--layers experiences like translucent curtains through which we see the landscape of a past in the present making its future. I didn't want the book to end as it built dimensions and created depth while moving closer and closer to a completed installation of Wu's dazzling mind. A must-read."
-- Claudia Rankine, award-winning author of Just Us and Citizen

"Simon Wu manages to be both a shrewd critic and enthused aspirant of what passes for today's cultural capital. Whether it's ethically branded handbags, Asian American pastiche, initiatives for racial inclusion in museums funded by dark money, and the ever-increasing blurring of art and fashion, Wu unpacks it all with a disarming lack of cynicism that is both keen and refreshing." -- Cathy Park Hong, New York Times bestselling author of Minor Feelings

"This exhilarating debut essay collection from art curator Wu uses cultural artifacts as springboards to reflect on connection, sexuality, and the immigrant experience. . . . This dynamic first outing heralds the arrival of a promising new talent." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A beautifully ecstatic history of our present, and what it means to seek freedom in the things, institutions, and, most importantly, people around us." -- Hua Hsu, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Stay True

"[A] devourable collection of essays. . . .Wu's myriad observations on art, queerness, identity, and the trap of capitalism are narrated with a similar unfussy self-awareness, brimming with humor and depth."
-- Hyperallergic

"A neon-bright picture of gay nightlife, leftist class strivers, the seductions of the art world, and what Wu critically--but fondly--calls the 'empty orchestra' of Asian America. In fact, there he is now in his mesh coattails, striking the empty air." -- Andrea Long Chu, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic at New York magazine

"In this striking and inspiring collection of essays, Simon Wu shows how art defines us, how we anchor our identities in particular pieces of clothing, works of literature, exhibitions in galleries, parties in clubs. His perceptive voice, observant of every detail, guides us into a different kind of vision in which objects glow with significance. With an insider's eye for the operation of the art world, Wu introduces us to a lesser-known and unjustly overlooked side of the New York City scene of the past decades, not just Keith Haring, but Tseng Kwong Chi and Ching Ho Cheng. Like a great mixtape (or a digital playlist), Dancing On My Own is a thoughtful and intimate act of curation." -- Kyle Chayka, author of Filterworld

"Wu...weaves himself in and out of this bold collection. . . . These smart, sly essays will appeal to lovers of both pop and museum culture."
-- Kirkus