Team (gallery, inc.) is pleased to announce a show of early work by Ryan McGinley. The exhibition will run from 02 March through 01 April 2017. Team Gallery is located at 83 Grand Street in New York.
The photographs on view in this exhibition were made by Ryan McGinley in New York City from 1999 to 2003, a period defined by hopelessness for many Americans – synonymous with the onset of the Bush Era, 9/11 and its aftermath. These vérité images, which pre-date his famed “road trip” series, capture the exploits of the artist’s social circle, members of an outlaw creative community based in New York’s Lower East Side. This body of work – a significant addition to the legacy of American subculture photography forged by the likes of Peter Hujar, David Wojnarwicz, Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Nan Goldin – is characterized by McGinley’s idiosyncratic admixture of hopefulness and self-awareness, as well as his unembarrassed disclosure of the melodrama of youth, its inextricably intertwined joy and heartbreak: the artist shows us his debauched, frequently naked friends, laughing and weeping, taking drugs and having sex, tagging walls and pissing off roofs.
Most of McGinley’s subjects are themselves artists, many of them highly recognizable: his childhood friend, the painter Dan Colen; Kunle Martins, better known by his graffiti moniker Earsnot; the late photographer and multi-media collagist Dash Snow, a close compatriot and frequent subject. The photographs vibrate with the synergistic charge of creative community, occupying the interstices between artists and their output; Early illuminates the multi-discursive genesis of much art-making.
Photos from this period of McGinley’s career appeared in his now-iconic handmade book The Kids Are Alright, as well as the 2003 Whitney show of the same title. That exhibition propelled the 25-year-old McGinley – at the time the youngest artist to have a solo show at the museum – to international notoriety. His fame roughly coincided with the advent of image-oriented social media platforms, the Internet quickly serving as the primary means of dispersal and consumption of his pictures. Editions of the book were sold at premiums on eBay, their authenticity dissected and debated on message boards. Blogs arose dedicated to McGinley, both as an artist and person. The artist’s project at this stage in his career was the obsessive documentation of his own life, its most intimate and debased moments, to the degree that the distinction between the image and its referent reality is blurred, the photos and experiences extensions of one another. While the photos themselves were made with a Yashica T4 point-and-shoot camera, hardly novel technology at the time, the particular confluence of their content and context was unprecedented: the widely shared images anticipated our modern moment, in which private and public life are merged, posted online for all to see.
Most of the images on view in Early have not previously been produced or displayed in a gallery setting.
Ryan McGinley has been the subject of numerous international monographic exhibitions over the past ten years, including solo museum shows at The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Kunsthalle in Vienna, Daelim Museum in Seoul, FOAM in Amsterdam, MUSAC in Léon, Spain, and MoMA PS1 in Long Island City. Group appearances include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, MoCA in Los Angeles, The Brooklyn Museum, Washington’s National Portrait Gallery, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and the MACRO in Rome.
Over the past two years, he was the subject of career surveys at Kunsthal KAdE in Amersfoort, Netherlands, Galeria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Bergamo, Italy and the Tokyo Opera City Gallery in Japan. His works are now on view in Give Me Yesterday at the Fondazione Prada in Milan. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver currently houses an exhibition of McGinley's formative output, focusing on some 1,700 polaroids. The Kids Were Alright is curated by Nora B. Abrams and accompanied by an extensive monograph from Rizzoli.