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Peter Hujar, Orgasmic Man, 1969, pigmented ink print, image, 11 1/4 x 7 1/2" paper, 14 x 11" © The Peter Hujar Archive

Peter Hujar

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© The Peter Hujar Archive

Details

b. 1934, Trenton, NJ
d. 1987, New York, NY

Peter Hujar photographed his subjects with penetrating sensitivity and psychological depth.

Unflinching and at times dark, he captured intellectuals, luminaries, and members of New York City subculture in moments of disarmed vulnerability.

Hujar embraced male sexuality unabashedly, and was unafraid to examine death and dying. In her introduction to Portraits in Life and Death, Susan Sontag wrote, “…Fleshed and moist-eyed friends and acquaintances stand, sit, slouch, mostly lie – and are made to appear to meditate on their own mortality…Peter Hujar knows that portraits in life are always, also, portraits in death.” Hujar was at the forefront of the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers in downtown New York in the 1970’s and early 80’s. He succumbed to AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of work that has become posthumously celebrated.

Hujar’s photographs have been exhibited throughout Europe and the United States, including Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, New York; Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam for a retrospective in 1994. Exhibited and organized by the Morgan Library & Museum in New York and Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid starting in 2017, the exhibition Speed of Life made its final stop at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, France in 2019. His work remains in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

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Peter Hujar, David Wojnarowicz Smoking, 1981, pigmented ink print, image, 14 3/4 x 14 3/4", paper, 20 x 16" © The Peter Hujar Archive

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Peter Hujar, Christopher Street Pier #2 (Crossed Legs), 1976, pigmented ink print, image, 14 3/4 x 14 5/8" paper, 20 x 16" © The Peter Hujar Archive

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Peter Hujar, Dean Savard Reclining, 1984, vintage gelatin silver print, image, 14 3/4 x 14 3/4", paper, 20 x 16" © The Peter Hujar Archive

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Peter Hujar, Lynn Davis (Pulling Hair), 1981, vintage gelatin silver print, image, 14 5/8 x 14 3/4", paper, 20 x 16" © The Peter Hujar Archive

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Peter Hujar, Daniel Schook Sucking Toe (Close-up), 1981, pigmented ink print, image, 14 3/4 x 14 5/8", paper, 20 x 16" © The Peter Hujar Archive

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Peter Hujar, Mario Montez Backstage at the Palm Casino Review, 1974, vintage gelatin silver print, image, 13 1/2 x 13 1/4", paper, 17 x 14" © The Peter Hujar Archive