Published by Steidl/Pace/MacGill Gallery. Text by Vince Aletti.
The Lower East Side between 1972 and 1985—filled with artists, wannabe artists and hangers-on—was a community of the misbegotten gathered from every town in America and relocated in the mean streets between Broadway and the Bowery, and Peter Hujar was right in the midst of it. Nothing but talent, flamboyance, rank gender-bending mockery and arch irony supported these artists: some made their names, many came to grief and a few made art. In those days, the gutted streets of the Lower East Side resembled a war-zone. Though some established artists had passed through—Rauschenberg and Johns, John Cage and Merce Cunningham—almost everyone lived and worked on the extreme outer margins of money and art, penniless and unknown. As a community, downtown New York was a counterstatement to the rich New York of the banks, museums, media, corporations and the art world itself. That downtown New York is gone: time, gentrification, disease and death have taken their toll and turned this vibrant epoch into a chapter in art history. But before it vanished, its extravagant cast sat for Peter Hujar’s camera, and with this volume, that community is vividly brought to life. Featured are Charles Ludlam, David Wojnarowicz, Edwin Denby, Susan Sontag, Paul Thek, Divine, Robert Wilson, John Waters, William S. Burroughs, Ray Johnson, Fran Lebowitz, Remy Charlip, Joe Brainard and many others. Peter Hujar (1934–87) was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and moved to Manhattan to work in the magazine, advertising and fashion industries. He documented the vibrant cultural scene of downtown New York throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1976 he published Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag. Hujar died of AIDS in 1987.
Published by Fraenkel Gallery. Introduction by Jeffrey Fraenkel. Text by Vince Aletti, Stephen Koch. Interview with Fran Lebowitz.
Celebrated and revered by artists, the work of Peter Hujar remains something of a public secret, but his photographs dealing with sex and eroticism, made between the years 1969 and 1986, have come to define a certain era in New York. Today they are widely considered to be his finest and most radical work. Hujar’s view of the human body is uninhibited and uncompromising, but his poignant explorations of sexuality and desire also project a universal humanity; as Nan Goldin said of Hujar’s nudes, "Looking at his photographs of nude men, even of a naked baby boy, is the closest I ever came to experience what it is to inhabit male flesh." This monograph, published in conjunction with an exhibition at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, is the first to deal specifically with Hujar’s photographs of love and lust. Captured in deeply textured black and white, these photographs present a view of human relationships that encompasses both the tender and taboo. This volume also contains an interview with author Fran Lebowitz from 1989, and newly commissioned essays by Vince Aletti and Stephen Koch. Peter Hujar (1934–1987) was born in Trenton, New Jersey and moved to Manhattan to work in the magazine, advertising and fashion industries. He documented the vibrant cultural scene of downtown New York throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In 1976, he published Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag. Hujar died of AIDS in 1987.
Published by Matthew Marks Gallery/Fraenkel Gallery. Essay by Bob Nickas.
In the tradition of Brassaï's Paris at Night, Peter Hujar's Night brings together 43 hauntingly beautiful images of New York City. These pictures--most published here for the first time--illuminate a New York that has all but disappeared, one populated by the late-night demimonde, crumbling cobblestone streets, and landfills before the coming of Battery Park. Photographing costumed Halloween partygoers, dilapidated domestic interiors, cruisy city parks and trash-strewn parking lots, Hujar has left behind his own unique record of New York streets and their denizens, one as indelible as that of Weegee or Berenice Abbott. In a time before AIDS and a downtown before gentrification, Hujar's sometimes playful, often bleak photographs have an underlying sadness that is bound in the palpable mortality of his subjects, from revelers to decaying urban landscapes, all wrapped in a velvety blackness broken only by street lamps, fluorescent office windows and his camera's flash.