Peter Hujar (born 1934) died of AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of photographs. Hujar was a leading figure in the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers at the forefront of the cultural scene in downtown New York in the 1970s and early 80s, and he was enormously admired for his completely uncompromising attitude towards work and life. He was a consummate technician, and his portraits of people, animals, and landscapes, with their exquisite black-and-white tonalities, were extremely influential. Highly emotional yet stripped of excess, Hujar’s photographs are always beautiful, although rarely in a conventional way. His extraordinary first book, Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag, was published in 1976, but his “difficult” personality and refusal to pander to the marketplace insured that it was one of the last publications during his lifetime.
Moderator: Stephen Koch
Panelists: Vince Aletti, Moyra Davey, Nan Goldin, and Gary Schneider
Series Director: Michal Gamily
Vince Aletti is a curator, writer, and photography critic, currently contributing reviews to the New Yorker online. In 1976, he moved to an apartment directly across the street from Peter Hujar and was his neighbor until he died.
Gary Schneider prints his friend and mentor Peter Hujar’s photography. He is also a photographer who explores portraiture.
Stephen Koch is a novelist, essayist, historian and teacher, in addition to being the director of the Peter Hujar Archive.
Nancy Goldin is an American photographer. Her work often explores LGBT bodies, moments of intimacy, the HIV crisis, and the opioid epidemic. She lives and works in New York City, Berlin, and Paris.
Moyra Davey is an artist based in New York City. Davey works across photography, video, and writing.
© 2022 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC; Courtesy Pace Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco and Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off-Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s’ “Coffeehouse Theatres” through today.