Jimmy DeSana Photography Collection
ca. 1975-1979. Item #4790
Jimmy DeSana (1949 – 1990) was an American photographer and a major figure in the East Village punk and arts scene of the 1970s-80s. After moving from Atlanta to New York in 1973, DeSana immersed himself in the downtown arts scene, photographing many of the artists and musicians working at the time. DeSana worked almost exclusively in black and white up until 1980, when he began to experiment in color. His photography, primarily focused on the human body, blends elements of surrealism with S&M and was widely exhibited in New York in the 1980s. His portrait photography of musicians was also published in publications such as East Village Eye, New York Rocker, and others. He died of an AIDS-related illness in 1990.
This collection contains 145 black and white vintage silver gelatin photographic prints, ca. 1975-1979. Includes largely 3 x 5 in. photographs, some 5 x 7 in., some 8 x 10 in. and some irregular sizes. While DeSana is most well known for his staged erotic images, such as those seen in his 1980 self-published photobook Submission, this collection primarily includes candid party photographs and staged images of friends at home or in studios. Subjects include East Village artists, musicians, and poets such as Stephen Varble, David Byrne, Ray Johnson, Richard Hell, Yoko Ono, Nam Jun Paik, Jack Smith, Terence Sellers, Mitch Corber, Laurie Simmons, and others. Many prints have DeSana’s artist stamp on verso; a few are labeled by hand. Housed in one museum box.