Scrumbly Koldewyn and Tom Nieze, The Cockettes
Scrumbly Koldewyn and Tom Nieze, The Cockettes

1971

Titled and dated in pencil, verso

Vintage gelatin silver print

17 x 13.75 inches, sheet

Sold.

Scrumbly Koldewyn wrote in 2015 that this photograph was shot in Peter Hujar’s studio in New York City in 1971 while The Cockettes were in town playing at the Anderson Theater. Koldewyn has a contact sheet of other 2¼-inch pictures taken during the same session.

Peter Hujar gave this photograph to Tom Nieze—the lighting technician for The Cockettes (affectionately referred to as “Technical Tommy”). After Nieze passed away, the artwork went to his partner, Peter Mintun.

While their 1971 performances at the Anderson Theater were met with a lackluster reception by the stuffy east coast press and critics, The Cockettes influence and legacy helped shape the NYC landscape for generations to come. It was the ethereal Cockette Sweet Pam, in fact, who inadvertently introduced Arturo Vega to the Ramones, setting in motion a relationship that would change the course of music history and come to define the Punk rock aesthetic. According to Vega in an interview for Hey Ho Let’s Go: The Story of the Ramones by Everett True, Dee Dee Ramone was dating Sweet Pam, who lived with Gorilla Rose and Tomata Du Plenty in the apartment above him. It was this clandestine meeting that would solidify Punk fashion through Vega’s influence on an impressionable Dee Dee, who along with his band mates at the time were sporting a prep school look, just on the cusp of defining a new musical genre, and laying the groundwork for the DIY spirit that would become the battle cry for a generation of activists.

G.E.

Work by Peter Hujar (1934-1987)