Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar: The Shabbiness of Beauty

Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Moyra Davey, ‘Eric (Fade)’, 2018, from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy the artist and MACK.

This book originated out of an exhibition that Moyra Davey organized at Galerie Buchholz in Berlin. For this, Moyra Davey delved into Peter Hujar’s archives and emerged mainly with little-known, scarcely seen images. In response to these, Davey created her own images that draw out an idiosyncratic selection of shared subjects. Side by side, the powerfully composed images admire, tease, and enhance one another in the manner of fierce friends, forming a visual exploration of physicality and sexuality that crackles with wit, tenderness, and perspicacity. The book contains a new text by Eileen Myles and is published by Mack Books, London. Galerie Buchholz

Publisher: Mack Books

Cover Photo: Peter Hujar, ‘Study of Thek’s hand’, 1967, from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy The Peter Hujar Archive LLC.

Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Peter Hujar, ‘Sophie Mgcina and Thuli Dumakude – South African Play “Poppie Nongena”’, 1983, from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy The Peter Hujar Archive LLC.

Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Moyra Davey, ‘Armpit’, 1984, from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy the artist and MACK.


By The Way


Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Peter Hujar, ‘White Turkey, Pennsylavania’, 1985, from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy The Peter Hujar Archive LLC.

Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Moyra Davey, ‘Jane’, 1984, from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy the artist and MACK.

Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Moyra Davey, ‘Leg’, 1984 from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy the artist and MACK.

Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Peter Hujar, ‘Diana and John McClellan’, 1981, from The Shabbiness of Beauty by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar (MACK, 2021). Courtesy The Peter Hujar Archive LLC.

Moyra Davey and Peter Hujar - The Shabbiness of Beauty - Bildersturm Blog

Book Specs: The Shabbiness of Beauty (2021) by Moyra Davey & Peter Hujar published by MACK | Embossed printed hardback | 17 x 24cm | 128 pages | ISBN 978-1-913620-20-2 | April 2021 | €40. Available here.


Based in New York, Moyra Davey is an artist whose work spans photography, film and writing. Davey’s work initially featured documentary photographs of her family and friends, and later came to focus on the quiet, overlooked details of daily life: coins, kitchen shelves, and clumps of dust gathered along the floor.

She has produced several films, most recently Wedding Loop (2017) as part of documenta 14 in Athens. Davey’s publications include Burn the Diaries and The Problem of Reading, and she is the editor of Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood.


Peter Hujar (born 1934) died of AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of photographs. Hujar was a leading figure in the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers at the forefront of the cultural scene in downtown New York in the 1970s and early 80s, and he was enormously admired for his completely uncompromising attitude towards work and life.

His extraordinary first book, Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag, was published in 1976.