Andres Serrano, Nomads (Payne), 1990

Images of Andres Serrano, Nomads (Payne)

Andres Serrano, American, b. 1950
Nomads (Payne), 1990
Silver dye-bleach print
Sheet: 40 × 32 ½ in. (101.6 × 82.6 cm)
Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gift from The Howard and Donna Stone Collection, 2002.60

Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago


In his stylized portraits of people experiencing homelessness, Andres Serrano portrayed individuals from a marginalized group in a manner more common to fashion magazines and advertising. Inspired by Edward Curtis’s portraits of Native Americans on location at the turn of the twentieth century, Serrano set up a temporary portrait studio in the subway stations where he met his subjects.

“I didn’t ask my sitters to look dignified or noble,” he says. “The most I ever asked them was to look left or right. But I found that they gave me a very heroic response. I didn’t add anything to what they already possess. I just provided the lighting.”