The life and times of Alvin Baltrop.
The piers were an enchanted place during their heyday in the seventy’s and late photographer Alvin Baltrop made the ephemeral hookups that occurred there a central focus of his work and his life. Baltrop, was an American photographer who was unknown to the mainstream art world when he died in 2004 at 55. Today he is exhibited in a major retrospective at the Bronx museum. That he was black, gay and working class accounts in part for his invisibility, but so does the subject matter he chose: a string of derelict Hudson River shipping piers that, in the 1970s and ’80s, became a preserve for gay sex and communion. In assiduously recording both the architecture of the piers and the amorous action they housed, Baltrop created a monument to the city itself at the time when it was both falling apart and radiating liberationist energy.
‘THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ALVIN BALTROP’ at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (through Feb. 9).