Bill Hayward’s Portraits of the Collaborative Self (the reinvention of portraiture)

Opening Reception: March 7th: 6 - 8pm

Dates:  March 7 – March 25

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. Chasing Dragons 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.

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 maintains 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

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 Bills 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 has 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.  

He 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). 

Hayward lives and in works in New York City.

Hayward’s on line at:, and instagram: billhaywardnyc.

Forget all the clichés about the eyes being the window of the soul, or you are what you wear. Hayward has devised a means to finger-print the imagination, with forensic exactitude. 

Ah... there are democratic humanists, still!

 David Cohen, artcritical


A partial selection of some past Portrait Performances and Installations: 

Independence Hall - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site - Atlanta, Georgia

Golden Gate National Parks/Alcatraz - San Francisco, California

Boston African American National Site and Bunker Hill/Boston National Historical Park - Boston, Massachusetts

Lowell National Park - Lowell, Massachusetts

Golden Spike National Historic Site - Promontory Summit, Utah

Little Bighorn Battlefield - Crow Agency, Montana

One-Room School House - Big Timber, Montana

Dealey Plaza and The Texas Theater - Dallas, Texas

Hopewell Culture NHP - Chillicothe, Ohio

Point of Beginning - East Liverpool, Ohio

Las Vegas, Nevada

LA/Hollywood/Southern California - California

World Trade Center - NYC

Medicine Wheel NHS - Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Working Cowboys - Livingston, Montana

Ft McHenry - Baltimore, Maryland

Santa Fe Performing Arts Center - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Williams Center for the Arts, “The Roethke Humanities and Performance Art Festival” Lafayette College - Easton, Pennsylvania

Skillman Gallery, “Bill Hayward’s The American Memory Project” Lafayette College - Easton Pennsylvania

New Harmony, Indiana

Selma, Alabama

Zero-One Gallery - Los Angeles, California

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Los Angeles, California

“33 Crosby”, 33 Crosby Street, NYC

“Meet The Artist” - Apple Store, Soho - NYC

“Fashion’s Night Out - NYC” - Apple Store, 14th Street - NYC

“Fashion’s Night Out - NYC” - The High Line Hotel - NYC

“On The Corner”, The Roger Smith Gallery - NYC

“Bill Hayward’s The Human Bible - 41st & Eighth” - NYC

Martin Art Center - Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania