Peter Hujar: Speed of Life
The Morgan Library & Museum, NYC
Jan. 26–May 20, 2018
by Peter Gefter, Joel Smith, Steve Turtell
Aperture. 248 pages, $50.
PHOTOGRAPHER Peter Hujar (1934-1987) finally gets his critical due with a sumptuous exhibition of his extraordinary œuvre at two museums this year. Peter Hujar: Speed of Lifeis currently on view in New York at The Morgan Library and Museum through May 20. It then moves to the Berkeley Art Museum from July to October.
Hujar is known primarily for the unabashed, erotic intimacy of his male nudes and the glorious theatricality of his drag icons, but this important show also features searing photographs of urban detritus and stark cityscapes, as well as tender portraits of artists, friends, and animals, in addition to mummified remains in Italian catacombs. Augmenting the 160 pictures are contact sheets, correspondence, ephemera, and tear sheets from early commercial work in Harper’s Bazaar, GQ, and The Village Voice.