Larry Clark Sells Off Photo Archive To Friends And Fans

Kids director and artist Larry Clark presents a large selection of works from his photographic portfolio at the Simon Lee Gallery, London. The artist recently turned 71 and decided to gift this body of work to friends and fans; rather than sell the photographs at auction or bequeath them to museum or gallery. The works are on sale for a limited period with the viewer able to sift through Clark’s large selection of prints.

Clark was born in Tulsa in 1943, the artist and film-maker lives and works in New York and Los Angeles. Clark’s first film ‘Kids’ was launched to immediate success when it was first seen at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. The artist went on to make ‘Another Day In Paradise’ 1998, ‘Bully’ 2001, and a number of other features.

Clark’s photography is in fact a documentation of the people, places, and kids he was interacting with during his various periods of film-making – including The artist’s cast members and even lead actors – all in the form of snapshots at 4 x 6, and 5 x 7. The prints have been processed commercially at various photo shops and pharmacies, and represent an intimate portrait of a period in Clark’s life and the relationships formed while creating works on film.

The Photographs are stacked neatly in a large white wooden crate in the centre of the Lower Gallery, Clark’s snapshots already reside in collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Met; yet this is a unique experience for an audience. The usual distance between art and viewer is bridged, affording a very intimate experience with the artist’s photographs. The viewer is able to rummage through thousands of Clark’s prints and either buy or simply replace the works in the crate and begin again.

This has a similar effect to flipping through the family album; immersing the viewer in Clark’s work; allowing the vantage point of a very personal perspective, leaving the viewer with a slight sense of nostalgia felt by the septuagenarian photographer. As Clark has stated himself; ‘All the kids that come to my shows in thousands and could never afford 10 to 15 thousand dollars a print, this is pay back to all the skate rats who would like a souvenir so I can die happy’

The artist and film-maker’s white cube garage sale is also a form of installation in which direct interaction between viewer and work – in the handling of Clark’s photographs by thousands of people – allows a relationship rarely afforded in the viewing of an artist’s work; and in this relationship we glimpse a portrait of the artist and film-maker himself.

Larry Clark Simon Lee Gallery London until 6 July 2014  

Words: Paul Black  Photos: © P C Robinson all rights reserved

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