Room 220 is excited to present an evening with photographer Barbara Nitke, who will be on hand at the Press Street Headquarters (3718 St. Claude Ave.) during a happy hour salon from 6 – 9 p.m. on Friday, November 30, in conjunction with PhotoNOLA. Nitke will give a presentation of her new monograph, American Ecstasy, at around 7 p.m., but visitors are invited to come and go as they please, have some wine and snacks, check out Press Street’s new digs, and view an exhibition of work from American Ecstasy, which will be on display at the Press Street HQ Nov. 30 – Dec. 2.
Barbara Nitke is a New York-based photographer whose fine art photos most notably focus on marginal sex. She began her career as a set photographer on pornography shoots in New York in the 1980s. American Ecstasy is a collection of fine art photography from that period, 1982 – 1991, shot during and in between takes, during breaks, the long durations actors and crew spent waiting for another scene to finish. Nitke’s photographs do not romanticize pornography, but the empathetic eye with which she portrays her subjects complicates our preconceptions about the people involved, finding humor, humanity, camaraderie, and even great beauty among what many consider a base industry.
The American Ecstasy monograph also includes essays and oral histories by Nitke that weave a narrative throughout the photos that expresses the excitement, absurdity, and cornucopia of erotic elements involved in working in the porn business during the twilight of its Golden Age. Arthur C. Danto, former art critic for The Nation and a National Book Critics Circle Award-winner, wrote its introduction. You can see a sample of the American Ecstasy monograph here.
Stay tuned for the Room 220 interview with Barbara Nitke, conducted by Nathan C. Martin.
The exhibition of Barbara Nitke’s work at the Press Street HQ takes place in partnership with Barrister’s Gallery, which has an exhibition of other photos from American Ecstasy on display Nov. 10 – Dec. 2.
The Press Street HQ will also be open the evening of Sunday, Dec. 2, for the PhotoNOLA St. Claude gallery stroll, and Nitke will be in attendance then, as well.
If you hadn’t gathered by now, this event and exhibition deals with adult themes. Don’t come if you’re a baby.