'Chelsea Hotel Portraits' by Tony Notarberardino opens at ACA Galleries

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'Chelsea Hotel Portraits' by Tony Notarberardino opens at ACA Galleries
Tony Notarberardino, Bonnie, 2006. © Tony Notarberardino. Courtesy the artist and ACA Galleries, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- ACA Galleries is now opening “Chelsea Hotel Portraits,” the first public presentation of photographer Tony Notarberardino’s iconic black and white portraits of the extraordinary individuals drawn to The Chelsea Hotel, shot over the course of the past 25 years.

Raised in Melbourne by Italian emigrant parents, Notarberardino arrived at The Chelsea Hotel in 1994, where he still resides today. A New York City landmark built in 1884, the Victorian Gothic building on West 23rd Street was one of the few remaining bohemian refuges in a fast and ever-changing city, and played host to legendary artistic collaborations, boundary-breaking performances, and so much more.

The unique characters that both lived in and frequented the hotel inspired Notarberardino to begin capturing portraits. The photographer recounts the moment the series came to life: “At 4 a.m. one night in September 1997, I was inside the Chelsea Hotel elevator returning home when a hand adorned with long, painted fingernails blocked it from closing. In walked an aged drag queen carrying more shopping bags than she could manage while holding the hand of a six-year-old boy. After four years of letting these moments pass by, I introduced myself and asked if I could photograph her. Without hesitation, she agreed.”

Notarberandino’s large format black-and-white portraits of the rich visual cast of characters that passed through the hotel’s doors daily continue to be captured on his vintage 1960s Toyo-View 810GII in the hallway of his apartment, the former residence of the Australian artist Vali Myers. Featuring counter cultural icons to the lesser known, the series stands as a definitive document of the people who made the landmark so unique, leaving audiences with a last glimpse of the romance of The Chelsea Hotel.

Notarberardino has photographed over 1,500 subjects, including: Arthur C. Clarke, Dee Dee Ramone, Elias Jose Reranos, Abel Ferrara, Storme Delarverie, Victor Bockris, Rose Wood, Steven Baldwin, Ava Vincent, Debbie Harry, Frank Roth, Arnold Weinstein, Jessica the Drag Queen, Ron Jeremy, Amanda Lepore, Shalom Harlow, Peter Sarsgaard, Suzanne Bartsch,

Grace Jones, Sam Shepard, Selinie Luna, Ira Cohen, Lola Schnabel, Dirty Martini, Maria Beatty, Bruce Levingston, and Stanley Bard.

Tony Notarberardino (b. Melbourne, Australia) is a New York-based artist. He graduated from Melbourne Photographic College with a BA in Film and Fine Arts. For twenty years, Notarberardino worked as an editorial photographer for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle, and GQ. In 2002, he debuted his film titled The Host at the Tribeca Film Festival, which was awarded Best Short Film at the AFI Australian Film Awards and Best Cinematographer at the Melbourne Film Festival. His most recent film, The Erotic Dreams of The Chelsea Hotel, premiered at the Anthology Film Center in 2017 and was awarded Best Short Film at the CineKink Film Festival.


Since 1932, the American Contemporary Art Gallery (ACA) has been at the vanguard of American Art. As one of the oldest galleries in New York, ACA has presented numerous historic exhibitions introducing the work of artists Aaron Douglas, Alice Neel, Barnett Newman, David Smith, and Charles White, among many others. Currently, the gallery’s scope includes masterworks from the 19th century as well as Modern and Contemporary American and European Art. The gallery continues to break new ground in their support of emerging artists, representation of established artists and distinguished estates, and exhibitions that honor the gallery’s strong historical roots by re-imagining them in a contemporary context.

ACA Galleries
Tony Notarberardino: Chelsea Hotel Portraits, 1994–2010
March 9th – April 13, 2024

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