Douglas Crimp and Juliane Rebentisch on Before Pictures
Nov 17, 2016

The Whitney welcomed Douglas Crimp and Juliane Rebentisch on September 10 for a reading and discussion of Crimp’s newest book Before Pictures: New York City 1967-1977 (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

Widely considered one of America’s foremost intellectuals, Crimp spoke about moving to New York in 1967 and having to learn “how and where to be queer all over again.” Rebentisch noted how Before Pictures weaves together argument and anecdote to vividly recall his world leading up to the pivotal exhibition Pictures, which he organized at Artist’s Space in 1977. Rebentisch is a Professor at Hochschule für Gestaltung, School for Art and Design in Offenbach, am Main, Germany, and the co-editor of WestEnd: Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung (New Magazine for Social Research)

Rebentisch highlighted the intersections of coalition politics, queer spaces, and gentrification in Before Pictures. During the Q & A following the discussion, artist Amy Sillman commented on the book’s diaristic tone, asking if the personal subject matter affected his writing process. Crimp responded that it was a pleasure to draw from his memories of the era: “there were all these parts of the city which were there which were absolutely ours. On the other side of the West Side Highway, only we went over there and so it belonged to us. And that’s a feeling that for me I don’t know how you could possibly have that in New York City anymore, that the city belongs to us.”

This talk coincided with Douglas Crimp–Before Pictures, New York City 1967–1977, on view at Galerie Buchholz, New York, through October 22, 2016.


By Emma Quaytman, Assistant to Interpretation and Public Programs