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Larry Clark: they thought i were but i aren't anymore... at Luhring Augustine

Brooklyn Rail - Art Review - July 15, 2014

Two trains of thought about Larry Clark’s artistic output consistently pervade consideration of his work, which for the past 40 years has almost exclusively examined the debauched underbelly of adolescent life in America. One is the shock of Clark’s subject matter, with occasional outraged forays into accusations of pedophilia. The other is a cool detachment that regards Clark as an old man reworking material that no longer titillates the way it did when his photographs first entered the public arena, upon the publication of his monograph Tulsa in 1971. The insistence on fitting Clark’s photographs and films into one of the two categories derives from the cultural prudishness we collectively exhibit when it comes to sex.  But the current exhibition may possibly alter the trajectory of the debate. While there is no shortage of shocking material, there are also works revealing finer shades of introspection, not to mention the opportunity to gain perspective on the arc of Clark’s career.


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