Mike Mincetti, 24 years old, New York, NY, $30 by Philip-Lorca DiCorcia
I was really happy to catch the Philip-Lorca DiCorcia exhibition at LACMA before I left Los Angeles.
Unfortunately the exhibition closed on the 14th but for those who did see the show, I think most came away feeling pretty damn inspired by DiCorcia’s work. He’s been given plenty of press and has stirred up plenty of controversy throughout his career but there is no denying how good his work can be.
The main thing I took away from the exhibition is how cohesive all the work seems to be. The LACMA show excludes all of the early work that DiCorcia did photographing family and friends and begins with the Hustlers.
Everything is all mixed up and out of order on the walls but for me that was the strength of the show. The mixing up of all the work allowed a viewer to see the consistency of it all. Even the Lucky 13 images, my least favorite of his work, made sense in this context, giving them a broader context with which to evaluate them.
One of the main things I noticed about all the work in general is how stark and dark everything is. Maybe that’s why they left out the earlier work as it’s much brighter in tone and even a bit humorous. DiCorcia’s world is definitely strange but it’s also mysterious and haunting. The lighting seemed more aggressive and almost sloppier than I remembered but it just does what it’s supposed to do and really creates the pictures.
I don’t ever remember seeing the photograph shown above from the Hustlers series but it was one of the standouts in the show for me due to it’s intensity and strangeness. It’s also very gothic in many ways and seems to channel a lot of what’s been happening with photography the past few years. The lighting is also exactly what I mean by aggressive. That’s just one light (probably with a grid) blasting onto this amazing face. In theory this just shouldn’t work as it’s too intense but somehow it’s feels perfect and almost natural.
A Thousand Polaroids was also on display, supposedly all 1000 of them. They had their own nook and it seemed almost too easy to just grab one and go. I wouldn’t be surprised if some were taken off the wall throughout the duration of the show as there were plenty of empty spaces. I wouldn’t know how to choose as there are just too many.
On the LACMA site you can watch a video of all the Polaroids with a bit of DiCorcia talking about them. It was also on display in the gallery.
You can also read a nice interview of DiCorcia talking with Charlotte Cotton, the curator of the show.
In relation to yesterday’s post about Taryn Simon, it’s worth mentioning that I’m pretty sure she worked or assisted for DiCorcia at some point and I think it’s interesting to think about that in relation to both of their work. Simon’s earlier commercial work was probably more indebted to DiCorcia’s work than her artwork is and she has definitely found her own voice.
Trying to dig up some of Simon’s old advertising work is pretty damn impossible and I couldn’t find much online. That history has definitely been erased for good. Even Art + Commerce only has her art projects and a few editorial assignments on display.
I really wonder what the fear is all about. Great artists have been doing some kind of commercial work for ages and it’s not like selling artwork in a gallery is uncommercial. Two of our greatest photographers, Edward Steichen and Walker Evans did lots of commercial work. Evans, like Simon (with her Innocents project), was even assigned his greatest project of all, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
I was able to find this one image in my own archive of fashion images from a campaign Simon shot for Chloé (I’m pretty sure she shot it). If I remember correctly she did a ton of cool work for them.