Part autobiography and part cultural history, Before Pictures is a courageous account of an exceptional period in both art historian Douglas Crimp’s life and the life of New York City. Crimp will read from his book, followed by a conversation with Harvard professor Carrie Lambert-Beatty.
Douglas Crimp is best known for his work with the Pictures Generation—the very name of which Crimp coined to define the work of artists like Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman. But while his influence is widely recognized, we know little about Crimp’s own formative experiences before 1977, when he organized the exhibition Pictures. Before Pictures, published by Dancing Foxes and University of Chicago Press, tells the story of Crimp’s life as a young gay man and art critic in New York City from the late 1960s through the turbulent 1970s. Crimp participated in all of what made the city so stimulating in that vibrant decade. The details of his professional and personal life are interwoven with the particularly rich history of New York City at that time, producing a vivid portrait of both the critic and his adopted city. At the same time, it offers a deeply personal and engaging point of entry into important issues in contemporary art.