Exhibition: ‘Hustlers’ Philip Lorca diCorcia, at David Zwirner Gallery, New York

What a joy to be able to post these works!

Philip Lorca diCorcia has always been one of my favourite fine photographers. The strong narrative and the love for craftsmanship in his work are incredible, dealing with contemporary issues and the notion of daily life, whether it would be New York locals rushing home in his ‘Heads’ series or the LA rebellious male prostitutes who roamed the streets in his series ‘Hustlers’, which are being exhibited now at the David Zwirner. His works are profoundly moving and relatable in so many aspects of life, they are also beautiful to look at with polarising dark humour. Philip Lorca diCorcia is back again to present one of his iconic series of photographs called ‘Hustlers’, depicting clueless and naïve male prostitutes in LA. 

The show runs until November 2, so if you’re in New York. Check it out!

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Brian Scott, 24 years old, San Marco, California, $25, 1990-1992.

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Michael Jenson, 19 years old, Dallas, Texas, $20 / Jerry Imel, 18 years old, Wichita, Kansas, $20, 1990-1992. Chromogenic print

This exhibition, on view at David Zwirner New York, presents photographs from Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s Hustlers series (1990-1992). Taken just over twenty years ago in Los Angeles in the vicinity of Santa Monica Boulevard, it features male prostitutes posing for the camera for a fee loosely equivalent to what they would charge for their sexual services. DiCorcia paid the subjects with grant money awarded to him by the National Endowment for the Arts, a bold gesture during the controversial years that witnessed censorship of NEA-supported exhibitions by Robert Mapplethorpe, Andres Serrano, and other artists.

 In 1993, twenty-one photographs were exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, marking diCorcia’s first museum solo exhibition. The show, entitled Strangers, was later accompanied by a museum publication. Two decades later, the exhibition at David Zwirner presents thirty-six photographs from the series, including twelve works newly produced and shown for the first time, and coincides with the publication Hustlers (steidldangin). Created by Pascal Dangin in collaboration with the artist, this large-scale publication presents the series in its entirety.

Hustlers marks the beginning of diCorcia’s engagement with street photography. Many of his works appear to depict random events in public settings, yet rarely involve chance. For this project, each composition was carefully arranged before nearby hustlers were approached, and the result is a series of loaded narratives that revolve around a tension between the subject’s unique presence in front of the camera and the artist’s predetermined idea for the shoot. Depicted in a variety of settings including vacant lots, fast food chains, bus stops, and motel rooms, the hustlers are identified in the titles of the photographs by their name, age, place of birth, and payment received for posing for the camera.

Also on view, and shown for the first time in the United States, is a room-sized installation composed of three synchronized single-channel projections entitled Best Seen, Not Heard (2012), which presents photographs of the hustlers on a large screen flanked by the opening and closing credits of old porn movies, dating from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Press release from the David Zwirner Gallery

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Mike Miller, 24 years old, Allentown, Pennsylvania, $25, 1990-1992. Chromogenic print

Exhibition: Ian Strange - Suburban at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. 27 Jul 2013 - 15 Sep 2013

Ian Strange: Suburban is a multifaceted photography, film and installation exhibition created by New York-based Australian artist Ian Strange. Since 2011 Strange has worked with a film crew and volunteers in Ohio, Detroit, Alabama, New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire to create, photograph and film seven site specific interventions incorporating suburban homes. The recording of these interventions through film and photographic documentation forms the basis of this new and groundbreaking exhibition.

Cindy Sherman - From the series 'Untitled Film Stills’, 1977-80. Photograph, silver gelatin print on paper 

Untitled Film Stills is a series of sixty-nine black-and-white photographs made between 1977 and 1980. In them Sherman appears as fictitious characters in scenarios resembling moments in a film. She used vintage clothing, wigs and makeup to create a range of female personae which she then photographed in apparently solitary, unguarded moments of reflection, undress, or in conversation with somebody off-set and outside of the frame. The ‘stills’ are set in a variety of interior locations as well as outside in urban and rural landscapes. They were begun shortly after Sherman moved to New York city with the artist Robert Longo (born 1953).

"In college I began to collect a lot of discarded accoutrements from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, more for my own personal wardrobe as well as for the sheer fascination with what those garments stood for. It was easy and cheap to collect all kinds of things in those days. I’ve always played with make-up to transform myself, but everything, including the lighting, was self taught. I just learned things as I needed to use them. I absorbed my ideas for the women in these photos from every cultural source that I’ve ever had access to, including film, TV, advertisements, magazines, as well as any adult role models from my youth. The resulting photo shoots were very brief. In those naïve days, I would sometimes take only about six shots for one scene and move on to the next, so that with one roll of film I could have six different set-ups.”

(Quoted in Contemporary Art: The Janet Wolfson de Botton Gift, p.99.)

Tim Hetherington -  From the series 'Sleeping Soldiers', 2008. Digital C-prints 

Hetherington spent 15 months in Afghanistan between 2007-2008 following the members of a 15-strong platoon of US paratroopers at one of the most remote and dangerous outposts in the war zone. He went on to make the award winning film Restrepo (2010) with the footage that he shot during his year-long engagement with the spaces of war. In repose, the US soldiers seem angelic, contemplative, or vulnerable: in the photographs posted here I see Adonis (Alcantara), foetal (Kelso), corpse (Lizama) and death mask (Richardson). As Michael Fried comments on the 1930s Walker Evans subway photographs were he took pictures of commuters with a hidden camera, “the notion that persons who are unaware of being photographed who at the limit are unaware of being beheld manifest the inner truth of their meaning on their faces.” This way of capturing an inner truth is rare in the history of art. Although there are plenty of individual paintings that depictsleeping men in art I could find no body of work that depicts men sleeping in painting or photography.

Sophie Szilagyi - From the series 'Water Studies', 2013. Pigment print on archival rag paper

Sophia Szilagyi is a printmaker who uses digital printmaking to create scenes of re-interpreted memory and experience. In her multi-layered compositions, Sophia explores the relationship between fiction and non-fiction, challenging our perceptions of reality and the effects of physical sensation and emotional response on memory. Sophia’s artistic process begins with an impression of a certain painting, personal photograph or experience. Images from a variety of sources are combined and overlapped so that the general interpretation of her work is a patchwork of real and imagined experiences. Sophia achieves this seamless layering by using digital technology, giving her the freedom to manipulate the imagery to create the desired mood and expression. The completed works are printed on archival rag paper as this highly absorbent surface enhances the softness and dreamlike quality of her imagery. In this current exhibition, Sophia draws her inspiration from the sea and coast, exploring the dualities of intersections between light and dark, earth and ocean. Through her prints, Sophia seeks to capture a sense of wonder, fear, beauty and, sometimes, danger that exists in both nature and the imagination.