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The Goldin Years

Annie Tittiger | January 3, 2014 | Story Galleries and Performance

If Robert Mapplethorpe had dialed down the BDSM and Patti Smith had dialed up the photography, you’d have had Peter Hujar and Nan Goldin—photographers, friends, and contemporaries during New York’s early-’80s sexual awakening. This month, the Fraenkel Gallery stages complementary exhibitions: Nan Goldin: 9 Self Portraits and Peter Hujar: Love & Lust.

“They were both self-reflective,” says the gallery’s director, Darius Himes, of the artists, “and very daring in that self-reflection.” Below, Himes delves into the two artists’ strengths, complete with nude portraits, smoldering cigarettes, and a very visceral point of view.

ON GOLDIN: “Her work has been largely autobiographical, like a photo diary. With the exhibit, you have her chronicling her own self and body over a 24-year period. There’s power in that. Here’s a woman in her 60s, and she’s quite bold to photograph herself and present herself with the body she has now.”

ON HUJAR: “The show is about love and lust in his work—his photos that look at sex and excitement in a way that is both radical and sophisticated. He was very interested in the male energy. It’s not going to be bondage, but there are photographs of erections and orgasms. There’s a challenge to look at sex as something beautiful.”

Both shows run Jan. 4-Mar. 8 at Fraenkel Gallery,

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