Book Signing

Dancing on My Own by Simon Wu Book Launch

Tuesday, June 25, 2024
7 – 8PM

In Robyn’s 2010 track Dancing on My Own, the Swedish pop-singer chronicles a night on the dance floor in the shadow of a former lover. She is bitter, angry, and at times desperate, and yet by the time the chorus arrives her frustration has melted away. She decides to dance on her own, and in this way, she transforms her solitude into a more complex joy.

Taking inspiration from Robyn’s seminal track, emerging art critic and curator Simon Wu dances through the institutions of art, capitalism, and identity in these expertly researched, beautifully rendered essays. In “A Model Childhood” he catalogs the decades’ worth of clutter in his mother’s suburban garage and its meaning for himself and his family. In “For Everyone,” Wu explores the complicated sensation of the Telfar bag (often referred to as “the Brooklyn Birkin”) and asks whether fashion can truly be revolutionary in a capitalist system–if something can truly be “for everyone” without undercutting someone else. Throughout, Wu centers the sticky vulnerability of living in a body in a world where history is mapped into every choice we make, every party drug we take, and every person we kiss.

Wu’s message is that to dance on your own is to move from critique into joy. To approach identity with the utmost sympathy for the kinds of belonging it might promise, and to look beyond it. For readers of Cathy Park Hong and Alexander Chee, Dancing on My Own is a deeply felt and ultimately triumphant anthem about the never-ending journey of discovering oneself, and introduces a brilliant new writer on the rise.

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.

Andrea Long Chu is a writer and critic at New York magazine. She received the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism in 2023. Her nonfiction book Females was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in 2019. She lives in Brooklyn.