Boys and Girls
Looking for style in some very unexpected places.
“Permanency,” a show of recent additions to the permanent collection of the small but feisty Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, in Soho, includes work by David Hockney, Nan Goldin, George Platt Lynes, Ray Johnson, Berenice Abbott, Robert Indiana, and Deborah Kass. It’s a fine opportunity for the museum to prove that it’s not just a trove of historic and contemporary homoerotica (though there’s plenty of that here too), but that’s not the only reason to add the exhibition to your late-summer art tour. Following the donation of 30 prints from the Peter Hujar estate, “Permanency” turns out to be a terrific showcase for the photographer’s work. Nineteen of his powerful, incisive, and incredibly soulful black-and-white photos fill two walls here and easily steal the show. Included, along with several sensational nudes and pictures of men at the Christopher Street piers, are portraits of the artist David Wojnarowicz, poets John Ashbury and Joe Brainard, theatrical genius Charles Ludlam, and the performance artist Ethel Eichelberger in an over-the-top antebellum gown. A 24-year-old Fran Lebowitz, naked under crisp bedcovers, is already working an irresistibly insolent pout. That could be a fashion moment, but the picture that really caught my eye was of a handsome young man named Keith Cameron, who’s shirtless but wrapped across the chest in what looks like an impromptu combination of a wool blanket and a thermal jersey. Lightly bearded, with tousled hair falling over one eye, he looks like a Greenpoint hipster wriggling out of an avant-garde straitjacket—something Rei Kawakubo might have sent down the runway for Spring/Summer 2015.
Permanency is at Leslie+Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster Street, through September 28. 212-431-2609.