Abigail Solomon-Godeau:
The Austere Art of Peter Hujar

I met Peter Hujar three or four times in the last year of his life, in 1987. I did not know he was ill, but he had been diagnosed with AIDS that year and died ten months later. I forget how I first learned about his remarkable work; probably someone told me about it because it was rarely exhibited. And certainly, his photos of masturbating men or close-ups of erect penises were rarely encountered in photography galleries and exhibitions. I was then in the process of curating an exhibition entitled Sexual Difference: Both Sides of the Camera for which I chose seven of his pictures, two of them currently on view at the Jeu de Paume’s exhibition Peter Hujar: Speed of Life