California photographer Larry Sultan (1946–2009) is best known for his works that fuse the relationship between fact and fiction. His internationally renowned carreer is now retraced in Larry Sultan – Here and Home, the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art LACMA.
The exhibition includes more than 200 photographs ranging from Sultan’s conceptual and collaborative works of the 1970s to his solo works in the decades following. Sultan never stopped challenging the conventions of photographic documentation, exploring themes of family, home, and façade throughout his career.
Major bodies of his work are represented in the show including: Evidence (1977), made collaboratively with Mike Mandel; Swimmers (1978–81); Pictures from Home (1982–92); The Valley (1998–2003); and Homeland (2006–2009). The exhibition is complemented by a study hall with documentation and ephemera providing a glimpse of Sultan’s modes of inquiry as an artist and teacher.
Main themes of Sultans photographs were illegal immigration, the housing crisis, and the speed of everyday life – showing a somber atmosphere and images that are somehow suggesting a form of redemption. Sultan’s project Homeland that started in 2006 was focusing on the environments near where he lived in Marin County, California is typical for his visual language.
Mike Mandel’s and Larry Sultan’s project Evidence is a collection of found and recontextualized images taken from public and private American institutions, corporations, and agencies. In 1977, after sorting through the local picture archives at a California NASA office, the young artists, just out of their graduate studies, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue the work in other such spaces.
After sorting through a hundred archives that chronicled America’s frontier into the technologically advanced future, they carefully selected a dynamic batch of images to be sequenced loosely into a book and exhibition.
HERE AND HOME
09 November – 22 March
LACMA LOS ANGELES www.lacma.org