new-york

Jimmy DeSana, Bubblegum (Self-Portrait), 1985, C-print, 16 5/8 x 14 5/8".

Jimmy DeSana

Salon 94

Jimmy DeSana, Bubblegum (Self-Portrait), 1985, C-print, 16 5/8 x 14 5/8".

At once anonymous and familiar, the figures populating Jimmy DeSana’s performative photographs are stripped of identity, their faces either cropped out of the frame, turned away from the camera, or obscured by objects both commonplace (gauze, motorcycle helmets) and of a more exotic variety (leather s/m masks). A sense of alienation pervades these images. Yet in this loose survey, the first exhibition of DeSana’s work at Salon 94, the inclusion of his portraits of downtown habitués—ranging from such notables as Debbie Harry and William S. Burroughs to more obscure denizens of the scene—adds a foothold of accessibility to his more curious output, and gives today’s audiences a sense of the now-faded East Village milieu in which DeSana worked.

Skilled in the art of negation, DeSana staged intimate scenes that tease out the erotic—in Pants, 1984, a model arches his

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2013 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.