Barney’s Wall, a new 73 minute documentary, probes the psyche of literary bad-boy and culture warrior Barney Rosset, who battled censors, smashed sexual taboos, and unleashed the Sixties counter-culture, introducing millions of young intellectuals to the hippest currents in literature, film, theater and radical politics.
Flamboyant, principled and provocative, Barney changed the cultural landscape of America. His defiant publication in the early 1960’s of D.H. Lawrence’s then-banned Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and William Burrough’s Naked Lunch landed him in costly First Amendment battles that led all the way to the Supreme Court. These relentless crusades broke the back of that era’s literary censorship laws, which were abolished in landmark decisions. Grove went on to publish now canonical, then avant-garde, authors ranging from Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet to the Beats and Malcolm X, and – after yet another First Amendment battle – to the distribution of the classic erotic film, “I Am Curious Yellow.” At his death in 2012, every major publication in America lauded Barney Rosset as one of the country’s most effective advocates of the right to read, publish and create without fear of intimidation, retribution or humiliation.