Photographer, filmmaker and now fine artist, Larry Clark has made a career out of capturing hard-core teenage mischief and devilry in discomfiting images of needle-poking, gun-toting, everything-humping kids. In the process, he’s paved the way for countless other photographers. Indeed, the road to Nan Goldin and Terry Richardson begins in Tulsa — the name of Clark’s groundbreaking 1971 book of gritty black-and-white photos shot sporadically between 1963 and 1971. His reputation was well-established by the time he directed the Harmony Korine-written and highly controversial feature film Kids in 1995, launching the careers of Chloe Sevigny and Leo Fitzpatrick. His latest film, The Smell of Us, about so-called delinquent skateboarders in Paris, is set to release later this year.
“I’m just showing a reality,” he told Hint. “Other people have taken my images and exploited everybody like crazy. Look at the fashion world. Open any magazine and it’s all half-naked and naked kids selling clothes. The original work that I did, I wasn’t selling anything. I was just making art and showing you the reality of what’s going on.”
Clark was doing just that as early as 1961, as Luhring Augustine gallery shows in an exhibition of works spanning the early 1960s to the present. The earliest piece on display is Clark’s portrait of his friend Johnny Bridges, made with a Rolleiflex camera borrowed from his mother, a door-to-door baby photographer. In recent years, however, Clark has also created collages and has recently branched out into sculpture and painting. A fervent collector, Clark continually mines from his vast accumulation of photos and printed matter to form and inform his work. The show, titled “they thought i were but i aren’t anymore…,” will also showcase his painting for the first time.
Clark will also have a moment across the pond. The FOAM in Amsterdam will exhibit the complete Tulsa series, as well as its follow-up book, Teenage Lust. The museum will also screen Tulsa 1968, the 16mm black-and-white film Clark shot alongside his Tulsa portraits and which has only been shown on a handful of occasions since 2010.
“they thought i were but i aren’t anymore…,” Jun 7 – Aug 1, 2014, Luhring Augustine, 531 W 24th St, NYC
Tulsa and Teenage Lust, Jun 13 – Sep 12, 2014, FOAM, Keizersgracht 609, Amsterdam