Video

Cruising Utopia

A Conversation on Peter Hujar

Conversation recorded on July 15, 2020

This online panel brought together a group of distinguished participants to address Peter Hujar’s work and its impact on later generations of artists, with a particular focus on questions of intimacy, desire, kinship, and community at the intersection of photography, performance, and queer culture.*

The panel discussion coincides with the exhibition Peter Hujar: Cruising Utopia, which explores Hujar’s intimate photographs of queer culture in New York from the late 1960s until the early 1980s—the era following Stonewall but before the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic. The exhibition juxtaposes iconic studio portraits of friends, lovers, and acquaintances, many of them fixtures of the downtown scene, with images that allude to the culture of cruising for sex in Manhattan’s crumbling West Side piers during the 1970s.

The panel includes artists Nayland Blake, Every Ocean Hughes (f.k.a. Emily Roysdon), Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and art historian Abigail Solomon-Godeau, who will join writer Stephen Koch, a close friend of Hujar’s and Director of The Peter Hujar Archive, in a conversation moderated by Oliver Shultz, Curatorial Director at Pace Gallery.

Learn more about Peter Hujar.

*Please be aware that this video event documentation and the corresponding transcript include harmful and triggering language used to describe members of the trans community (35:05) and neurodiverse individuals (35:29).

Stephen Koch asked us to share the following statement: “Changing times call for necessary changes in our language. I understand that my choice of words to describe transgender and neurodiverse people during the discussion was harmful. Harm was certainly the opposite of my intention. I am grateful that this was brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize to all who may have been hurt, angered, and offended by my words.”

Pace is committed to presenting public programs that engage with the often vital, sensitive and challenging subject matter of our artists’ work. As the organizers of this panel discussion, we take responsibility for what transpires on our channels. We have made the decision to refrain from censoring these derogatory terms in an effort to create space for learning about verbal manifestations that harm marginalized communities, and how such language, if not addressed, perpetuates legacies of intolerance, erasure, discrimination and violence.

If you or someone you know is experiencing acts of gender-based violence, please contact the TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or on The Trevor Project’s website.

For information on how to better support trans people in your community, please visit the National Center for Transgender Equality’s website.

Videos — Cruising Utopia: A Conversation on Peter Hujar, Jul 16, 2020