In the basement of an apartment building in Manhattan, Scott Zieher discovered a pile of photographs among the discarded effects of a recently deceased tenant. Exhibited for the first time at ZieherSmith and presented in a new publication of the same name from powerHouse Books, these photographs from circa 1972 offer an intimate portrait of a group of gay bikers in the city and the woods, and a touching snapshot of a historical subculture at its carefree zenith.
The photographs bring into focus a brief, specific period of relative innocence, when middle-of-the-road Americans more often than not failed to perceive the homoerotic undertones of their most heterosexual of institutions. With conceptual light cast by issues ranging from anonymity in homosexuality and underground motorcycle chic to vernacular photography’s pop-culture ramifications, a warm and generous spirit of camaraderie pervades this subterranean survey. Like a real-world set for Scorpio Rising casually captured by an unpretentious extra, this found cache of old-school, leather party snapshots attains archeological significance.
The original individual photographs, as well as the book, will be available throughout the exhibition. The powerHouse publication also includes an essay by Scott Zieher.