Known for documenting the downtown cultural scene of New York throughout the 1970s and 80s, the work of eminent American photographer Peter Hujar is being immortalised in a fifty-photograph survey curated by longtime fan Elton John. This unique set-up offers a fresh view of Hujar’s work through the eyes of one of music’s most innovative and enduring characters: featuring portraits of Hujar’s bohemian friends, portraits of performers such as Stevie Wonder and Peggy Lee, his landmark nudes, and a selection of atmospheric landscapes.
Don Mahoney and Peter Hujar Painting 184 Second Avenue, October 14, 1983 © 2022 The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Merging the creative sensibilities of Hujar and John, the exhibition proves how one artist’s vision can shed light on another. It wasn’t until 2011 that the musician acquired his first piece of Hujar’s work, he says of the photographer: “Hujar’s humanity, depth, and sensual insights aren’t for everyone and don’t need to be, but once his pictures get into your bloodstream they are impossible to shake.” Known as one of the most revered performers around, Elton’s touch brings a personal understanding to the exhibition.
After tragically passing away in 1987 of AIDS, at the time the American photographer’s work was only recognised by a small but influential group, yet having left behind such a profound archive, his work now resides in MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Tate. Taking place at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, a portion of proceeds from the exhibition with be donated to Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, in honour of the programme’s endeavours to end the epidemic.
Peter Hujar curated by Elton John will run at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco from September 8th – October 22nd, more info here.
Cockette Kreemah Ritz (I), 1971 © 2022 The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Ethyl Nude (I), 1979 © 2022 The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York