New Intimacies is a photographic study situated in environments known for gay cruising and public sex. Taking influence from Peter Hujar and the photographs he created in the cruising areas around Manhattan’s meatpacking district in the 1970s and 1980s, these experimental images seek to envision the intangible and fleeting qualities of these geographic spaces. The inclusion of various photographic strategies (such as landscapes, portraits, and abstraction) implores viewers to consider the social and cultural elements that contributed to the formation of these sites as spaces of community and public intimacy. Previous studies of these queer cultural interventions have been made by scholars, artists, activists, and theorists such as Douglas Crimp, José Esteban Muñoz, Lauren Berlant, David Wojnarowicz, Michael Warner, Esther Newton, Fiona Anderson, and others. This project builds on these contributions, offering a visual representation of cruising culture that celebrates these geographies of desire and liberation.
Louis Chavez (b. 1985) is a photographer and curator based in New York. Chavez uses photography to explore queer intimacy, social histories, and geographies of desire. Their solo exhibition, New Intimacies, was exhibited at the University of Rochester’s Hartnett Gallery in 2021 and at PeepSpace in Tarrytown, NY in 2023. Chavez was a participant in SOILED: The Downtown Dirty Book Fair, curated by Matthew Leifheit in 2022, and was a graduate presenter at the Society for Photographic Education’s national conference in 2023. In addition to their visual arts practice, Chavez is a curatorial assistant in photography at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. They were a guest curator at Visual Studies Workshop in 2020 and a studio assistant to photographer Joshua Rashaad McFadden in 2021. Chavez holds an M.F.A. in Photography and Related Media from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a B.S. (summa cum laude) from SUNY Brockport.