Bill Hayward: Portraits of the Collaborative Self (The Reinvention of Portraiture) at The Opening 42 Walker st

Sozita Goudouna
5 min readMar 7, 2024

The Opening Gallery is pleased to announce Portraits of the Collaborative Self (The Reinvention of Portraiture), a solo exhibition of works by Bill Hayward. Installed across the first floor of 42 Walker St, the exhibition attempts to challenge the notion of photographic portraiture. Over the years, Hayward has turned away from objective photographic representations, choosing instead to mine the depths of the human psyche, conveying something elemental, even primordial. Often shrouded, spooky or distorted, these images are evidence that Hayward is both a master artist and skilled psychoanalyst. The exhibition tells the story of one artist’s quest for self-discovery and new modes of expression — inspiring the same spirit in his subjects and all those who encounter his work.

RoseLee Goldberg

The exhibition will stage a current iteration of the “Collaborative Self Series” studio and will invite the Luv Michael granologists to be among the participants. Luv Michael is the New York non profit which is commited to enriching the lives of autistic adults, more at

For more than forty years, Hayward has endeavored to bring light, through his art, to the strange and wondrous forms that lie hidden beneath the surface of things, revealing what is left over when conventions fade away. All of these portraits derive from a Conversation (not an interview) between myself and the participant. In the course of this Conversation, which often lasts for hours, they will unconsciously strike upon some feeling that is true to them and their heart. Not a thought out reaction OR IDEA, but an extemporaneous inner truth. An unexpected truth of experience. Working from this unexpected truth, they then use the paint and or paper to construct a setting for their portrait. All of the words, marks, constructions are executed by the participant. Their art, their heart.


This is not about having your picture taken…

James Lecesne Academy Award Winning Playwright L’Oeil de la Photographie… Paris

About the Artist

Bill Hayward

Artist Bill Hayward (b 1942) works in a wide array of media, including: photography, film, painting, music, sculpture, and dance. In all cases, Hayward’s work is primarily inspired by mud, blood, possibility and the drama of living forms. To these ends, his work explores the human body — its outward appearance and innermost feelings — often entering territories of vulnerability and emotional risk. Vaginal echo. Memories surfaced, some pleasant, some frightening. I left Bill’s studio at dusk feeling both lighter and more vulnerable, the way one might feel after a psychological breakthrough. Stacey Harwood, Editor, The Best American Poetry

Hayward’s works have been exhibited in galleries and performance centers in France, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, the UK and throughout the United States. His film BENT in collaboration with Grounded Aerial was featured on W Magazine’s Fashion Films site. His first feature film Asphalt, Muscle & Bone was awarded at numerous film festivals worldwide throughout 2019. His just completed second feature, Chasing Dragons — Designing the Dead is releasing Spring 2024. Hayward’s books include: Cat People (Doubleday, 1978), bill hayward (Paglia Press 1989), Bad Behavior (Rizzoli, 2000), and Chasing Dragons — An Uncommon Memoir in Photographs. (Glitterati, 2015) Hayward is on the board of the literary journal NOON; is a contributor to The Best American Poetry Blog, and is the Artist-in-Residence for Psychology Tomorrow Magazine.

Hayward is a co-founder of The Maine Photographic Workshops (now the Maine Media Workshops), wherein he taught Master Class Workshops in portraiture and the creative process. He has also taught Master Classes at the International Center of Photography (New York City); Palm Beach Photographic Workshops (West Palm Beach, Florida), and the Art Kane Photo Workshops (Cape May, New Jersey).


We are also pleased to announce that 8pm The Opening will present ‘You send me’ is a project created by Iria Vrettou (animator) and Andrew Stephens (musician) in response to the exhibition title “outraged by pleasure” by Nadja Argyropoulou. The piece draws from the queer revolutionary history of jazz, the blues queens and explores jazz as an experience of exteriorization inspired by the works of Fred Moten. The three hand drawn animated loops are comprised of hundreds of drawings each. They explore the evolutionary origins of dancing as a primordial language and pleasure as a revolutionary act. They are conceived, and unfolding, as a world of many worlds, a (queer) oddkin. In collaboration with dancers Adonis Vais and Anastasia Delta the creatures come to life through the original music written and performed by Andrew Stephens in collaboration with Ben Goldberg, Georgia Heers and Jayla Chee.



Sozita Goudouna

Sozita Goudouna is adjunct professor and the author of Beckett’s Breath (EUP, 2018). She is the founding director of the non profit organization Greece in USA