Patric McCoy: Take My Picture
April 14, 2023
In the 1980s, Patric McCoy traveled around Chicago on his bike, always with his camera. From the lakefront to the Loop, McCoy found no shortage of Black men who wanted their picture taken. Over a ten-year period, he shot thousands of images at his subjects’ request.
Patric McCoy: Take My Picture is a selection of some 50 black and white and color photographs from this rich document of 1980s Black gay Chicago. McCoy’s subjects are neither posed nor directed; each has agency over how he is seen, elevating the subject’s humanity, inverting and subverting the gaze.
HIV/AIDS hit Black men especially hard. Thousands would die before the end of the decade, including many of McCoy’s friends, lovers—and subjects. Take My Picture can be seen as a marker of place, time, and memory. It is an altar to those lost.
The exhibition is curated by Juarez Hawkins, artist, educator, and curator, who noted, “McCoy and his camera fulfilled an unspoken need for Black men to be seen. Seen by someone who did not objectify them as ‘Other’, but an insider who allowed them, to paraphrase Langston Hughes, to be their ‘beautiful Black selves’.”
This exhibition is presented by Alphawood Exhibitions at Wrightwood 659.