Peter Hujar: 21 Pictures

Over the course of 30 years, Peter Hujar (1934–1987) embraced an ambitious range of subject matter—from studio work to street photography to landscapes. To reflect the broad scope of the artist’s work, Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce Peter Hujar: 21 Pictures, to be presented January 7 – March 5, 2016.

Hujar is perhaps best known for his intimate portrayals of artists who were among his circle of friends and admirers. Among the works in the exhibition are insightful portraits of Paul Thek (1965), Susan Sontag (1975), John Waters (1975), Diana Vreeland (1975), Divine (1976), and Ethyl Eichelberger (1983), as well as a self-portrait from 1974.

Looking beyond Hujar’s most celebrated works, 21 Pictures will also feature a number of less familiar photographs, such as gritty scenes of city life in the 1970s and 1980s, dramatic seascapes, poignant still lifes, and penetrating “portraits” of animals, in which he conveys the vulnerability and individuality of his subjects.

Hujar’s work is also notable for its candid exploration of sexuality, death, and life. The exhibition will include openly erotic portraits, as well as a haunting photograph of the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily. Throughout his varied work, Hujar’s unmistakable voice comes through, evincing a personal and unidealized approach to the medium.

The work of Peter Hujar was recently featured in major exhibitions at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, and Punta della Dogana/François Pinault Foundation in Venice, Italy, as well as being the subject of retrospectives at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; MoMA PS1, New York; the ICA, London; the Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland; and Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany.

21 Pictures will be Fraenkel Gallery’s fourth solo exhibition of Hujar’s work, and it follows two years after the gallery’s publication Peter Hujar: Love & Lust.

Paul Thek, Nude, Astride Zebra, 1965
Lower Manhattan from the Harbor, 1976
Divine at the Metropolitan Museum Russian Opening (III), 1976
Parked Car, Brooklyn, 1976
Draped Male Nude (III), 1979
Surface of the Sea, Sperlonga, ca. 1963
Bouche Walker (Reggie’s Dog), 1981
Self-Portrait Jumping (I), 1974