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Naked New Orleanians in NYC

It makes sense, right, that a good way to cool off in the heat is by looking at naked people in an air-conditioned gallery? Two legends of photography, E.J. Bellocq and George Dureau, both of New Orleans (past and present), have photographs of Southern men and women in various stages of undress on view in New York. These are not your typical, Ryan McGinley–style naughty hipsters, mind you, but nudes (and almost nudes) that actually evoke thought. 

Dureau's show, Black: 1973–1986, is at Higher Pictures. Many more pics can be seen at Arthur Roger Gallery.

The E.J. Bellocq photos are on view at Show Room gallery. More info and pics at 1026 Conti, the website for Bellocq's childhood home. Bellocq's glass-plate negatives of New Orleans prostitutes were discovered after his death in 1949 and were eventually purchased and restored by another iconic photographer, Lee Friedlander. The photos below are from 1912. (The scratched-out faces in some of Bellocq's photos have inspired much speculation and debate.)

About Bellocq's "defaced" photos, Janet Malcolm wrote: "A mental connection between the savage marks on the plates made by an anonymous hand and the physical abuse a prostitute is vulnerable to at the hands of strangers is not hard to make." Read the article here.

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