Watching the Beats grow old
Allen Ginsberg, “William Burroughs” (1953), gelatin silver print, 4 x 6 in. Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York (© 2012 Allen Ginsberg LLC, all rights reserved; all images courtesy Grey Art Gallery)
From 1953 to 1963 — a period that corresponds with the publication of his most celebrated works — Allen Ginsberg snapped photographs of his cohort of soon-to-be famous friends. These shots weren’t intended for exhibition; they were mementos, thrown in the back of a drawer. He unearthed them two decades later and had copies made, in the borders of which he scrawled relevant details in felt-tip pen. It is these photographs, amended with shots from the ’80s and ’90s, that are on display at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery.