Ryan McGinley's Photographic Curiosity

High Line Art
Apr 29, 2013 5:12PM

Make a note – tomorrow is your last chance to come see Blue Falling by Ryan McGinley, the latest installment on HIGH LINE BILLBOARD! McGinley’s billboard is currently located within the Edison ParkFast parking lot next to the High Line at West 18th Street and 10th Avenue. Blue Falling is the ninth billboard in our series, which has previously featured works by John Baldessari, David Shrigley, Allen Ruppersberg, among others.

Based in New York, McGinley often focuses on the American landscape, by documenting and celebrating the beauty of youth and freedom in his intimate photographs. His work portrays sublime settings spanning from vast landscapes, where people run in fields of wildflowers, to portraits taken in remote caves or forests at night, where trees become the stage for improvised theater. Often populated by nude young men and women, his photographs convey the joyfulness and liberty of a generation that is exploring its surroundings, both physically and metaphorically.

For the High Line, McGinley presents Blue Falling, a photograph depicting a person set against a vast blue background. As if floating in a sea or sky, the figure appears to hover effortlessly in the middle of the photograph. Evoking the levity of a body becoming liquid, it is a dreamlike image where gravitational boundaries and coordinates are erased in favor of a limitless, enchanted world. McGinley first displayed Blue Falling in a solo exhibition at Team Gallery in Manhattan entitled “I Know Where the Summer Goes,” shown second from left in the middle image to the right. Other pieces in the show similarly addressed McGinley’s classic themes of youth, beauty, nudity, physicality, experience, artificiality, reality, and temporality, as can be seen in the photographs featured in the final image to the right, courtesy Team Gallery.

McGinley’s photographs are instantly recognizable, both due to the skilled ethereality they project, as well as the nudity they feature. “When I first started making photographs,” he told The Talks in 2011, “I would shoot people nude occasionally and I was always just really into it and super fascinated by it. Just the idea of someone taking off their clothes is really exciting and also just watching the human body and studying it with a camera is just something that makes me smile and I think it’s really beautiful,” said the artist, evincing an aesthetic appreciation and love of human physicality and beauty. “All I know,” he concluded, “is that when I am shooting people nude it takes me to this other place. I am just so fascinated by the body.”

- Photos courtesy Timothy Schenck and Team Gallery.

High Line Art