CLAMP announces the death of Amos Badertscher

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CLAMP announces the death of Amos Badertscher
© Estate of Amos Badertscher; "The Abandoned Bed Room [Bedroom]," 1998; Gelatin silver print; 9.875 x 7.875 inches (25.1 x 20 cm), sheet; 7.625 x 5.25 inches (19.4 x 13.3 cm), image.

NEW YORK, NY.- It is with great sadness that CLAMP announces the death of Amos Badertscher at the age of 86.

Born in 1936, Badertscher was a lifelong resident of Baltimore and was known for his poignant portraits of people he met on the streets and in the nightclubs of his beloved city.

Developing and printing his work at home, Badertscher took extensive oral histories from his photographic subjects, and using his literary skills wrote their histories on the margins of the gelatin silver prints he created.

Queer art historian and curator Jonathan David Katz said: “With the death of Amos Badertscher, America has lost one of its greatest photographers. Walking into Amos’s Baltimore home was as close as I can imagine to seeing King Tut’s tomb for the first time. There were thousands of amazing photographs, each unforgettable and unprecedented. The first thing you saw was their formal sophistication and otherworldly beauty but then the emotional arc hit you like a ton of bricks. This was a history I never knew but can now never shake.”

Artforum wrote of Badertscher’s first major exhibition at the Duke University Museum of Art in 1995: “It’s the tonal coldness of these images, coupled with their outward eroticism, that distinguishes his practice from much of contemporary queer portrait photography, which has tended to be more invested in defiant heroism or lyrical sensuousness.”

CLAMP will open a previously planned solo show of Badertscher’s work in September 2023. Beginning in late August 2023, a major retrospective at the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus curated by Beth Sanders will also be on display.

A printed collection of Badertscher’s stories and images is due out in 2024, edited by Hunter O’Hanian. “The LGBTQ history in Baltimore that Amos preserved is not a history of LGBTQ milestones, gay pride marches, or US Supreme Court decisions,” said O’Hanian, the former head of the College Art Association and the Leslie-Lohman Museum. “It is what happened while those events transpired around us.”

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