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An unflinching portrait of talent and addiction. In 2008 the artist Adam Cullen invited journalist Erik Jensen to stay in his spare room and write his biography. What followed were four years of intense honesty and a relationship that became increasingly claustrophobic. At one point Cullen shot Jensen, in part to see how committed he was to the book. At another, he threw Jensen from a speeding motorbike. The book contract Cullen used to convince Jensen to stay with him never existed. Acute Misfortune is a riveting account of the life and death of one of Australia's most celebrated artists, the man behind the Archibald Prize-winning portrait of David Wenham. Jensen follows Cullen through drug deals and periods of deep self-reflection, onwards into his court appearance for weapons possession and finally his death in 2012 at the age of forty-six. The story is by turns tender and horrifying- a spare tale of art, sex, drugs and childhood, told at close quarters and without judgement. 'A teasing and complex ode to a man who defied attempts to categorise him or to understand him. Jensen's portrait dares to be both beautiful and ugly - that is, he is both tender and forensic. This is a marvellous, propulsive, intelligent read.' Christos Tsiolkas 'Fierce and spellbinding' David Marr 'A marvellous, propulsive, intelligent read.' Christos Tsiolkas 'The terrible force of the painter's rush to self-destruction is matched all the way by the writer's calm mastery of his story.' Helen Garner

 

Details

ISBN: 9781863956932
Audience: General
Format: Hardback
Number of Pages: 208
Publication Date: 12 Sep 2014
Publisher: Black Inc.
Publication City, Country: Melbourne, Australia
Dimensions (cm): 22(H) x 14.1(L) x 2.3(W)
Weight (gm): 482

 

Reviews

'A teasing and complex ode to a man who defied attempts to categorise him or to understand him. Jensen's portrait dares to be both beautiful and ugly - that is, he is both tender and forensic. This is a marvellous, propulsive, intelligent read.' - Christos Tsiolkas. 'The terrible force of the painter's rush to self-destruction is matched all the way by the writer's calm mastery of his story.' - Helen Garner. 'Fierce and spellbinding.' - David Marr

 

Author Biography

Erik Jensen is the founding editor of the Saturday Paper. He has written for film, television and the stage. His first book, Acute Misfortune- The Life and Death of Adam Cullen, won the Nib Award for Literature and was shortlisted for the Walkley Book Award and the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards. He has worked as a writer and editor at the Sydney Morning Herald, where he won the Walkley Award for Young Print Journalist of the Year and the United Nations Association of Australia's Media Peace Prize.
Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen
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