Adding a bit of sparkle to an otherwise sleepy San Francisco, Ryan McGinley swooped into town for the opening of his latest solo exhibit, Life Adjustment Center, at Ratio 3 gallery. And he went big for this latest effort, showing wall-sized versions of some of his signature photos (i.e. whimsical nighttime nudes with sparklers), along with portraits of nubile, willowy youths in repose with butterflies, deer, coyotes and other wildlife. “They just look classic, but it’s the same fucked up process as before,” he assured us. “It’s still me and a makeshift studio on a bus and all these kids running around, breaking into places we shouldn’t. At least this time we didn’t get fined too many times.”
As always, we couldn’t resist McGinley’s magical teen utopia where shirts are never necessary and waistlines hover perennially around twenty-eight inches. The rest of the city also fell under the thrall, with every lovelorn hipster and faun-eyed art school student turning out. They were all treated to a special surprise: an acoustic performance by Christopher Owen, lead singer of current buzz band Girls (which just happens to be McGinley’s favorite at the moment). We hope The Virgins aren’t too jealous. As McGinley told us later at the after-party in a Mission dive bar, the musical love is not just for show, but part of his new project documenting bands on tour at festivals, including Edward Sharpe and, of course, Girls.
Ryan McGinley, Life Adjustment Center, October 29 – December 11, 2010