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Peter Hujar

Photographs 1980-1987

September 16 - October 28, 2000
523 W 24 Street

Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce the exhibition Peter Hujar: Photographs 1980 to 1987 at 523 West 24th Street. Consisting of over 80 works, this will be the largest exhibition in New York of Hujar's photographs since the Grey Art Gallery retrospective ten years ago.

Peter Hujar died of AIDS in 1987 leaving a large, complex and profound body of work. 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 1980s. Having already established a reputation for himself through the powerful photographs he had been making since the late 1950s, Hujar was enormously admired for his completely uncompromising attitude towards work and life. He was a consummate technician and his portraits of people and animals, nudes, 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. Although his extraordinary first book, Portraits in Life and Death with an introduction by Susan Sontag, was published in 1976, his "difficult" personality and refusal to pander to the marketplace insured that it was his last and his reputation while he was alive remained that of an artist's artist.

This exhibition, the first to concentrate exclusively on the photographs made at the end of Hujar's life, includes many works that have never been exhibited before. The subjects include portraits of the photographer Lynne Davis, the artist David Wojnarowicz, the actor Jackie Curtis on his deathbed, homeless people, cats and dogs, male and female nudes, babies, the deserted streets of the city at night and a decrepit pier at Canal Street. All of the photographs are vintage gelatin silver prints made by the artist.

The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland, organized a major retrospective of Peter Hujar's photographs in 1994.

Peter Hujar: Photographs 1980-1987 will be on view at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues) through October 28, 2000. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00 pm.

For further information or reproductions please contact Jeffrey Peabody at 212-243-0200.

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