Ari Marcopoulos: Wherever You Go at Marlborough Gallery, Nero Magazine, March 10, 2012
May 12, 2012
In 2010, a 20-page fan zine titled Tyson Chandler, made by Marcopoulos as a tribute to the NBA player, ignited a friendship and collaboration between the New York Knicks center and the artist. Images of Chandler are featured in this exhibition, an illuminating example of the intimate moments and inner lives Marcopoulos captures in his subjects using a familial, casual approach informed by immediacy, access and a finely tuned sense of portraiture.
Book and ‘zine-making have had a critical role in Marcopoulos’ practice throughout his career, and underscores his increasing interest in the democratization of distribution and the equivalency of images. The artist’s latest collaboration with Dashwood Books includes producing one ‘zine each week over the period of this calendar year; Wherever you go will be featured in edition #17. A vitrine with approximately fifteen of Marcopoulos’ rare and out of print books make up a reading room of sorts, along with multiple bootleg versions of these books, xeroxed zine-style, for visitors to discover his past publications. As an extension of this combination of a democratic spirit and a voyeur’s eye, a projected video work entitled City Riders, shot with a cellphone camera, and depicting New York City subway commuters makes a gritty homage to both Walker Evans and Warhol’s screen tests.
Ari Marcopoulos, born in Amsterdam in 1957, moved to New York in 1979 where he quickly became a key figure in downtown’s legendary art scene. Before coming into prominence, he printed photographs for Andy Warhol and assisted Irving Penn. His own artistic practice began on the streets of New York City, echoing a long tradition of work made in this arena by photographers such as Helen Levitt, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand documenting the intimate lives of artists, musicians and skateboarders who served as both muses and commercial subject-matter. Through engaged portraiture he offers a dramatic take on everyday life that neither romanticizes nor exploits his subjects. Self-taught as a photographer, Marcopoulos makes photographs that are often imbued with a subtle formalism, a classical austerity—informed by the artist’s broad knowledge of art history—combined with an intuitive approach and an ability to adapt to the moment. Recent exhibitions include Midway at Kavi Gupta, Chicago; Here and Now at V1 Gallery, Denmark and the 2010 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. Marcopoulos currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Image above: Ari Marcopoulos, 1.2065 (Cairo), 2012, pigment print on rice paper, 36 x 54 5/8 inches
Marlborough Gallery 545 W. 25th Street May 10th – June 16th, 2012