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Candy Says: Remembering Two Artists and One Image, Artcritical

In 1973, Candy Darling invited the photographer Peter Hujar to her hospital room at Columbia University Medical Center. She was dying, and she wanted him to take her picture. The resulting photograph, the last taken before her death, appears very still. The velvety blacks and satin whites of the gelatin silver print render a glamorous woman lying in a hospital bed, surrounded by flowers. It is, in a word, beautiful. After the initial captivation of Darling’s gaze and the sensory pleasure of the photograph loosens its grip, this aesthetic quality, however pure, quickly begins disintegrating into an image saturated with contradictions.

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