Alexander and Bonin
Peter Hujar, Group Picture (III), 1966, vintage gelatin silver print, 14 x 17 in
Over the course of his career, Peter Hujar took portraits of different groups of artists, musicians, writers, performers, and friends, who defined the downtown art scene. Either by invitation or chance, Hujar captured these “tribes” of the New York avant-garde, thereby positioning himself as a link between them. The exhibition at Alexander and Bonin includes twenty vintage silver gelatin prints which capture a wide range of social circles in early downtown New York.
The first “tribe” portrait took place in the winter of 1966, when Hujar invited Paul Thek to bring a group of friends to be photographed in a studio setting. Thek’s group included an array of downtown New York writers and artists, amongst them Eva Hesse and Gene Swenson. There are several views from this session, which illustrate both the intimacy and formality of the setting. An additional twelve color shots will be projected in an adjoining gallery.
Other group portraits include the Philip Glass ensemble (1986); the poets Amiri Baraka, Jim Carroll, Jayne Cortez and John Giorno (1984); two groups organized by Vince Aletti (1976, 1981), and David Wojnarowicz’s “tribe” in 1987. In the case of Wojnarowicz’s group, Hujar explained: ‘You guys are inseparable and have this really intense relationship that I admire, and I just want to capture this moment.’
Opening Friday, September 8, 6 – 8pm.