An extraordinary collection of rarely-seen, classical portraits of leading figures from New York’s art world, taken from 1981 to 1990, will be exhibited in DUMBO, Brooklyn September 18 – October 26, 2008.
Photographed by Peter Sumner Walton Bellamy during his ongoing, 25-year project of photographing creative artists from the visual and literary worlds, the images will be shown at Henry Gregg Gallery at 111 Front Street, Suite 226, in DUMBO.
Artists whose portraits will be on view include: Vito Acconci, Richard Artschwager, Robert Blackburn, David Budd, Louise Bourgeois, John Cage, Alphaeus Cole, William Eggleston, “Fab 5 Freddy”, Eric Fischl, Leon Golub & Nancy Spero, Charles Gwathmey, Keith Haring, James Harrison, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Robert Manigold, Brice Marden, Melissa Meyers, Elizabeth Murray, Rubin Nakian, Luigi Otani, Richard Prince, Susan Rothenberg, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Raphael Soyer, Kiki Smith, Vincent D. Smith, Estaban Vincente, Andy Warhol, James Wellings and Terry Winters.
Many were captured by Bellamy before their careers skyrocketed to fame.
Every black and white image has a backstory, like the now-famous artist he loaned $5 for cab fare after the shoot. In 1991, the images were published in "The Artist Project / Portraits of the Real Art World / New York Artists 1981 -1990.” Copies will be available at the gallery.
Peter Sumner Walton Bellamy began The Artist Project in 1981 at the suggestion of gallerist Jack Tilton. He started with the portraits of a handful of artists whom Tilton put him in touch with. Asking each artist to suggest five others that he might photograph, Bellamy then proceeded to photograph over 600 artists living in New York City.
Part of the project was taken while he worked as Louise Bourgeois’ personal photographer documenting her sculpture during much of the eighties and the first half of the nineties. Bellamy grew up on New York City’s Upper East Side and attended Choate and, later, Pratt Institute. He learned to refine his craft from Orson Welles, Elliott Erwitt and Arnold Newman.
Currently he is working on a series of portraits of playwrights and has photographed Edward Albee, Horton Foote, Tony Kushner, Sarah Ruhl and John Patrick Shanley, among others. He is also preparing a book of his wilderness images. Bellamy is widely known for his evocative commissioned portraits. His work is published, exhibited and collected worldwide. “Artist portraits reflect my reverence for creativity,” he says. “In them, I try to capture what it means to be an artist; to give viewers a direct experience into the phenomenon and higher calling that making art is. It is on a higher plateau of existence like making love, a sort of proof that art is one of those things that God gave to man to make them special.”