This retrospective exhibition on the American photographer Peter Hujar is offering the most detailed account of the artist’s work to date, from the 1950s to his death in New York in 1987.
Hujar was a portraitist in everything he did. Regardless of the subject of the work—a lover, an underground theatre actor, a goose, the surface of the Hudson River, or the placid features of his own face—what moved and motivated him was the spark of encounter and exchange between artist and other. Hujar’s serene, meditative, square-format photographs confer gravity on the object of his attention, granting it an eternal moment’s pause within the rush of passing time.
Little recognised during his own lifetime, Hujar published only one book of photographs, Portraits in Life and Death, but his output is today recognised as distinctive. His portraits combine disclosure and secrecy, ferocity and peace. Hujar’s career involved both a quest for recognition in the world of fashion photography—the photographers he admired most were Irving Penn and Richard Avedon—and a more solitary, almost completely uncompensated body of work in which he depicted the creative and intellectual New York that he knew and admired.
The present exhibition follows Peter Hujar’s method of presenting his work. Rather than show his photographs in isolation or in an linear or chronological arrangements, he preferred to present them in dynamic, surprising and sometimes disconcerting juxtapositions.
Curator: Joel Smith, Richard L. Menschel Curator and Director of the Department of Photography at the Morgan Library & Museum
Casa Garriga i Nogués Exhibition Hall