Well, it’s that time again – Ryan McGinley‘s got a new show opening. This one is called ‘I Know Where The Summer Goes’ and opens at Team Gallery in New York. You can view images on the website here.
There’s a lot of contention about the worth of his images (examples of pro and con), and I couldn’t really tell you where the fault lines lie ( I tried to think of this – young vs. old, hip vs. not hip, art vs. photo – and couldn’t come up with any good divider), but it’s undeniable that McGinley receives a ton of good press, by and large, from the powers that be.
I remember going to see the McGinley show at the Whitney (he was the youngest artist, at 24, to receive a show there). The hype that surrounded that show was incredible. I went to the afterparty – An intimate affair with McGinley and like 6000 of his closest friends.
I suspect it’s this hype that divides people so much. You can’t help but be jealous, as a photographer or artist, of the media caresses that McGinley receives. And even if you’re not jealous and you don’t love the work, there’s something a little sinister in what seems like undeserved media attention – the pumping up of personae in order to aggressively sell youth and sex and photographs.
“A bit too consensual,” √âlo√Øse, who’s sitting next to me, says of this latest series. And she’s right, I think. The spontaneity that these images are depicting gets fairly deflated when you find out that each of these is an image that occurs specifically for the camera. But that’s the eventual result, I think, of what was described at a lecture by Elizabeth Sussman, the curator who brought McGinley to the Whitney, as a project to depict a generation intensely aware of the power of its own depiction.
Well here, then: If you want an antidote to it, go to Mathew Marks Gallery. They’re showing the work of Peter Hujar. His photographs seem to have some of the same energy of McGinley’s (he was in the precursor to McGinley’s scene, 2 artistic generations ago), but expressed far more soberly.