Human Interest
Audio Guide Playlist

Listen to commentary by artists and scholars on selected works in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, including Thelma Golden, K8 Hardy, Byron Kim, Deana Lawson, and Joan Semmel.

Narrator: Catherine Opie took this photograph of the performance artist Ron Athey in 1994.

Catherine Opie: He's just a very incredibly amazing, giving, lovely person who has pushed the boundaries with his own body.

Narrator: This photograph came from a time when Opie had just started making studio portraits of her friends in the San Francisco leather community. She used brightly colored backdrops intended to recall the northern Renaissance painter Hans Holbein, who is known for the intense humanism of his portraits. Catherine Opie.

Catherine Opie: By using bright colored backgrounds, I was able to reference Hans Holbein as a painter and begin to create these very loving, political portraits at a time in which my community was decimated by AIDS, and really wanted to talk about the idea of identity politics in relationship to being an out queer person. I wanted to kind of redefine the notion of my own documentary practice, so that the site became the body.

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