Peter Hujar: Speed of Life
The life and art of Peter Hujar (1934–1987) were rooted in downtown New York. Private by nature, combative in manner, well-read, and widely connected, Hujar inhabited a world of avant-garde dance, music, art, and drag performance. His mature career paralleled the public unfolding of gay life between the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
In his loft studio in the East Village, Hujar focused on those who followed their creative instincts and shunned mainstream success. He made, in his words, “uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects,” immortalizing moments, individuals, and subcultures passing at the speed of life.
Peter Hujar: Speed of Life—on view at the Morgan from January 26 through May 20—presents one hundred and forty photographs by this enormously important and influential artist. Drawn from the extensive holdings of his work at the Morgan and from nine other collections, the show and its catalog follow Hujar from his beginnings in the mid-1950s to his central role in the East Village art scene three decades later.
The catalogue features full-page reproductions of all 160 works in the exhibition, essays by curator Joel Smith, Philip Gefter, and Steve Turtell, and the first fully researched chronology, exhibition history, and bibliography to be published on Hujar.
Peter Hujar: Speed of Life was organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, and Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid.
Ethyl Eichelberger as Minnie the Maid, 1981, gelatin silver print, purchased on The Charina Endowment Fund, The Morgan Library & Museum, 2013.108:1.41. © Peter Hujar Archive, LLC, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco