previews

New York

“THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALVIN BALTROP”

Bronx Museum of the Arts
1040 Grand Concourse
September 7, 2019–February 19, 2020

Curated by Sergio Bessa

Documenting the West Side Piers from 1975 to 1986, Alvin Baltrop’s photographs of nude sunbathing, gay sex, s/m, cruising, artmaking, crime, and death chronicle an era of deindustrialization. Bodies and buildings hide each other, dissolving the boundaries between their divergent forms. An important record of queer and trans history, the Bronx Museum’s retrospective—featuring 120 photographs, archival materials, and a catalogue with contributions from Douglas Crimp, Hilton Als, and curator Sergio Bessa—will also provide audiences an opportunity to gauge Baltrop’s acuity with 35-mm film, his chosen medium. Baltrop’s small-scale work commands us to look closely, often at figures who themselves are searching for something (or someone) amid the crumbling architecture of the piers. Their voyeurism becomes Baltrop’s, which becomes our own—a collapsed line of sight connecting past and present.