Rare color portraits of the downtown royalty of 1970s New York, from Patti Smith and John Giorno to Hannah Wilke and William Burroughs.
Photographer Stephen Aiken (born 1948) does more than simply add color to the established record of New York City in the 1970s. (Although he does literally do that: his 35mm photos are some of the few of the ’70s downtown milieu not in black and white.) His photos also hugely enrich the history of Lower Manhattan’s cultural explosion during this time.
Aiken’s photos of the downtown scene include intimate portraits of writers Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and John Giorno; the artists Joseph Beuys and Hannah Wilke; and the musicians Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and John Cale. These previously unpublished shots are paired with Aiken’s street photography. The book includes a beautifully written foreword by the artist and critic Walter Robinson (cofounder of the seminal ’70s art journal Art-Rite) and an introduction by New York Times contributing arts writer Brett Sokol.