I can safely predict that the place to be in New York this week (if not this entire spring) will be the Team Gallery opening of new work by 30 year old photographer Ryan McGinley. The show, called "I Know Where the Summer Goes", runs from the opening on the 3rd of April through the 3rd of May. Team Gallery is located at 83 Grand Street between Wooster and Greene.
The title of this exhibition, taken from a song by Belle & Sebastian, is more than just a piece of poetic musing. McGinley does, in fact, know where his summers go. In the summer of 2007, as has been his recent practice, he travelled across the United States with sixteen models and three assistants, shooting 4,000 rolls of film. From the resulting 150,000 photographs, he narrowed down the work to some fifty images to be shown at the gallery.
The inspiration for the project were amateur photographs culled from nudist magazines of the 60s and early 70s. McGinley would sit with his models and look through pictures, discussing the mood he was hoping to capture that day. A specific itinerary was chosen to bring his troop through a range of photogenic landscapes and carefully planned activities. The artificial constructedness of the project allowed for situations in which the models could both perform and be caught off guard. The resulting pictures of young men and women playing in the great outdoors are both innocent and erotic, casual yet calculated.
At one point in McGinley's meteoric career, the question many people had was whether he was a Nan Goldin wannabe or actually had something original to say - an interesting question in the light of yesterday's post. He seems to have found his place in the great outdoors bringing a much needed breath of fresh air (no pun intended) to the increasingly stultified genre of constructed photography. The sky has become one of his great subjects to which he brings yet another fresh point of view. Finally, his equal interest (photographically speaking) in both men and women is a surprisingly rare and refreshing occurrence.