UTA Artist Space is pleased to present Larry Clark and his unflinching view of youth culture to Los Angeles in a solo exhibition titled DTLA. With over 50 pieces on display, this exhibition is a broad look at Clark’s influential practice, beginning with previously unseen photographs from 1963, and prior to his breakout Tulsa project, which exploded onto the American scene with its stark portrayal of sex, drug-fueled violence, and heartland anomie when it appeared in 1971.
Accompanying these classic works is his rarely-seen 16-mm film Tulsa (1968), as well as a group of new paintings and collages. This is the largest presentation of Clark’s work in Los Angeles, and this exhibition finds the trailblazing artist still exploring new subject matter and mediums, on both aesthetic and personal levels. Central to this exhibition is a group of paintings and collages; in the collages, the artist brings together photographic prints, news paper clippings, and other bits of ephemera, sometimes sordid and unnerving.
Also on display are the iconic cover-images of Tulsa and Teenage Lust: Billy Mann sitting atop a bed with a handgun, naked lovers in the backseat of a car, respectively. Later subjects like Wassup Rockers’ Jonathan Velasquez provide the contemporary end of Clark’s generation-spanning oeuvre. Throughout, the photographs document fleeting (or long-gone) innocence in a formal language that is both indebted to the history of photography, and predictive of today’s overexposed media landscape.
About Larry Clark
Larry Clark was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1943. While a teenager Clark developed his photography skills working as an assistant to his mother, a door-to-door baby photographer. He later spent two years at a commercial photography school. Larry Clark achieved both fame and notoriety with the publication of his first book Tulsa in 1971. Shot sporadically between 1963 and 1971, the book graphically documented the hard drug underworld of Tulsa. Although drug use, sex and violence are the main themes, the images are often beautifully composed and his subjects are sympathetically presented. Tulsa, often compared to Robert Frank’s book, The Americans, demonstrated a new style of photography that was subjective, alienated and completely detached from any social agenda. Clark raised the ante for engaged photography; his work offered a lived experience rather than a merely observed one.
His subsequent photographic work explored themes of emerging masculinity by focusing on teenage boys that Clark felt were both “sexualized and demonized.” In his collages and videos of the late 1980s and early 1990s, he broadened this investigation into revealing the ways that mass media alternately creates, rejects, and eroticizes young people. Stills from his video pieces were shown in his first and second solo exhibitions at the Luhring Augustine gallery in New York in 1990 and 1992.
In 1995, Clark released his first feature film, Kids, which premiered at that year’s Sundance Film Festival and was hailed as “an instant classic” and “a wake-up call.” Kids was followed by the films Another Day in Paradise (1998), Bully (2001), Teenage Caveman (2001), Ken Park (2003), WASSUP ROCKERS (2005), and the autobiographical installation and publication punk Picasso (2003). Marfa Girl (2012) was released independently on his website (www.larryclark.com) and won the Marcus Aurelius Award for Best Film at the 2012 Rome Film Festival. His newest film The Smell of Us, written and filmed in Paris, France, was released in 2014.