I was thinking about which photography exhibition was the breakout exhibition of the year. I remember past years in which shows by Sally Mann, or Richard Misrach, or Thomas Struth significantly altered the aesthetic landscape, and while no single show provided those kind of breakout moments, I think Ryan McGinley has to be the photographer of the year.
Emerging as something of a celebrity (this year he was featured in both GAP and Marc Jacobs ads); McGinley affords us the pleasure of following his career. He regularly has new work published in magazines as varied as The New York Times Magazine, TAR, and Purple. He has started to make films. He exhibits regularly at his gallery, TEAM. And he can be seen to consistently expand his photographic vocabulary, most recently with black and white studio portraits.
McGinley’s luminous and edenic youthscapes may not at first seem to define the zeitgeist of these perilous times, but he’s proven to be ahead of the curve before and perhaps his insistence that youth can lead the way is the best sign of hope out there.