Though George Dureau’s photographic output is unfamiliar to most, his approach is immediately recognizable in its resemblance to the work of Robert Mapplethorpe. However, the flow of influence has an unexpected current:
The photographers were friends in the early 1970s. Mapplethorpe was greatly moved by Dureau’s photographs, even to the point of restaging many of Dureau’s earlier compositions. For all their similarities, however, the photographs of Dureau and Mapplethorpe are quite different. Whereas Mapplethorpe exhibits his subjects as cool and objective, self-contained and remote icons, Dureau presents his as exposed and vulnerable, playful and needy, complex and entirely human individuals. The difference is foremost a matter of empathy.
– Claude J. Summers, quoted from the press release.
Black is George Dureau’s solo debut in New York. The photographic subjects are all black males, who, like Dureau, reside in New Orleans.