Friday, February 6, 2015

Larry Sultan - Here and Home at LACMA

Larry Sultan - Pictures from Home, LA Early Evening, 1986

Larry Sultan's retrospective - Here and Home continues at LA's LACMA until July 19.

TIME magazine reports:
When Larry Sultan died somewhat suddenly in 2009 at the age of 63, over 400 people attended his public memorial service. The majority of them were former students, who came in droves; Sultan had taught in Bay Area institutions for over three decades. His impact − as an artist and educator − was immeasurable. One person after another spoke that evening about the way in which Sultan had challenged their stake in the world, not only as artists but also as thinking, feeling human beings. “What a massive task this is,” said his former pupil Jon Rubin in his eulogy. “How many hundreds of students has he deeply affected? How can we, or I, account for his influence? What a remarkable and fortunate group of people we are.” Rubin was right: Sultan’s absence left a devastating, impossible void, but it also reminded those he left behind of what a terrific force he had been.
Five years later, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is holding Sultan’s first posthumous retrospective, called Here and Home. The exhibition consists of six substantial bodies of work made between 1975 and 2009. They may, at first glance, appear disparate. Swimmers legs entwine underwater in one series; Sultan’s parents appear in a retirement community in another; appropriated black-and-white images of enigmatic scenes in a third. But look closer. Each blends the tools of documentary and staged photography. Each probes desire and fantasy in relation to domestic life. Each examines emotional and physical displacement.  You can read the complete TIME article on TIME LightBox HERE.

Larry Sultan was widely regarded as one of the most influential photographic artists of his time. The originality and diversity of his practice are demonstrated in the comprehensive LACMA overview. 
The retrospective is accompanied by a substantial catalogue. Included in this book are images from every major body of work: Evidence (1977), a sequence of appropriated still photographs made in collaboration with Mike Mandel and acclaimed by the New York Times as "a watershed in the history of art photography"; Pictures from Home (1982 - 92), a personal exploration of ideas about masculinity and domesticity through pictures of Sultan's parents along with movie stills from his childhood; The Valley (1998 - 2003), a deliberately fragmentary examination of suburban homes being used as pornographic movie sets; and Homeland (2006 - 09), Sultan's final series, showing day labourers posed in idyllic California settings. Also featured are additional collaborative works with Mandel, selected editorial work and writings by and interviews with Sultan elucidating his creative processes.
You can get the LACMA catalogue from Book Depository HERE.

You can see a complete overview of Larry Sultan's work on his website HERE.

Larry Sultan - The Valley, Haskell Ave, 1998

Larry Sultan - Homeland, Canal District, San Rafael, 2006

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