William S. Burroughs (1917-1997)

William S. Burroughs

Biography

Burroughs was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. Much of Burroughs’ work is semi-autobiographical, drawn from his experiences as an opiate addict, a condition which marked the last forty years of his life. He is a primary member of the Beat Generation, and regarded as an avant-garde author who affected popular culture as well as literature. In 1984, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

In his fine art works, as well as his writing style, “cut-ups” and scrapbook collages, Burroughs visualizes the unconscious, embraces chance, and recognizes new networks of association, contrary to relying upon traditional linear narrative or logical representation. He collaborated and shared ideas with such artists as Bryon Gysin, Robert Rauschenbertg, Keith Haring, and George Condo.