Sunday, December 28, 2008

Top Ten #5 – Ryan McGinley

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.

TEAM Installation shot

From TAR Magazine


Anonymous said...

I agree re McGinley. Photography has been in need of an artist who blends in - and is respected - with both fine art and commercial art - and who also conveys that certain American Warhol/Koons/Basquiat kind of cult of celebrity. The painters & sculptors have dominated these last 20 years in that category while the photographers cling to staid portraiture and landscapes. McGinley breaks out of that mold and makes you want to follow his evolution -- plus he seems to have so much fun doing it, unlike other documentary artists who capture the depressing and war-torn mood the world is in. If I could add another influential artist to this list it would be Shepard Fairey. It was definitely his year too.

Christopher Paquette said...

Couldn't agree more with this selection.... This is a great list and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of your picks.

Happy New Year!

nina corvallo said...

Love McGinely too and I don't care much about the whimperings of others regarding his work.

Anonymous said...

As I spent hours combing through year-end best-of lists on various photography blogs this weekend, I was getting so depressed. All I saw in these favorite photos/photo books lists were depressing images of poor people in America, war-ravaged people in the middle east, ravenous ravens, Japanese men in gas masks, dumb schmucks picking of bottles off the street, alcoholic families with seriously dysfunctional incestuous habits -- it was all enough to make me want to douse myself in a bottle of whisky.

So thank god for Ryan McGinley who, through what was the most historically depressing year in 40 years, somehow managed to channel so much youth, beauty, and ebullience into his work. I'd much rather look at beautiful young people cavorting around in the nude through the southwest than much of this other crap.

Good call James! It takes a whole lot more effort to make happy photos than sad photos.

Anonymous said...

However, hoping that today's youth can "lead the way?" Hilarious. Maegan said...

wow. stunning imagery.