Subterranean Monuments: Burckhardt, Johnson, Hujar

The work of Painter-photographer-filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt (1914–1999), eccentric polymath Ray Johnson (1927–1994), and photographer Peter Hujar (1934–1987) was essential in the developing attitudes and aesthetics of the New York School, the amorphous field of painters, poets, composers, choreographers, and street performers spawned in the mid-twentieth century, and united by more than their proximity to New York City. Yet, while each of these influential artists enjoyed considerable fame among select artistic circles, none of them were widely known during their lifetimes. These three artists are united in a publication that traces the changing life of bohemia in postwar Manhattan. Working within an intensely creative community of peers, all three of these figures came to affect the art world well beyond the focused compass of their lives. Burckhardt’s cityscapes, storefront studies, and portraits are seen here, as are paintings reflecting a life alternating between urban and rural phases. Johnson turned a personal conflict between secretive and manically social impulses into a massive oeuvre of correspondence art and mixed-media constructions that paint an idiosyncratic group portrait of their era. Hujar, a quintessential downtown artist, divided his fierce concentration between the revelatory possibilities of the camera portrait and the younger creative figures he mentored; in both respects, he quietly helped define art’s evolution in New York since the 1970s. The publication was made possible by the generous support of The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. This illustrated catalogue features a critical essay by curator Mary-Kay Lombino, a bio-critical entry on each artist by Stephen Koch, Vincent Katz, and William S. Wilson, and a complete checklist of the exhibition.

26 pages with 34 illustrations

Exhibition: June 20–September 17, 2006

Price: $5.00

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