Thursday, August 14, 2014

Larry Clark, they thought I were but I aren’t anymore… @ Luhring Augustine

I don’t know. I loved the giant Larry Clark show years back, Punk Picasso at Luhring Augustine, where he showed piles of detritus that made an overwhelmingly compelling case that Clark was sexually assaulted as a child and his career has been the result of that trauma, like he was doing Mike Kelley’s career in reverse. It was so convincing that it was hard not to suspect that on some level it was a bit of a put-on, a fiction possibly derived from fact, which would make his later work more compelling. But after this show, I have an even harder time believing that he is just not messing with us. The show features vintage shots of young men, large off-handed figurative paintings of naked young men and graphic collages of naked young men with erect and ejaculating penises. Perhaps it is the presentation or maybe just the misfortune of being good at sequencing otherwise unspectacular images into something more, but it is hard to feel a real desire in the work. It feels like Clark is trying very hard to provoke instead of reveal something. I could just be that the large paintings feel downright labored-on in comparisons to the collages, and the work of bespeaks a man making through choices instead of struggling to unburden himself. So I don’t know. The work isn’t bad, it just feels like he has tipped his hand.

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