Untitled (Perino’s Front, Perino’s Rear), 1998
Colour photographs, 2 panels, edition of 3
Ringier Collection, Switzerland
Flaming Big Top (For Charles Nelson Reilly), 2015
Courtesy of the artist
Photograph by Marcus J. Leith
Larry Johnson’s first major survey in Europe, On Location brings together a selection of works by the artist (born 1959 in Long Beach, California) from the early 1990s to the present.
The show’s uncontested star is Los Angeles, the city in which Johnson has lived and worked all his life. For over thirty years, L.A.’s physical and imaginary landscape has served as the set for the artist’s photo-based investigations of the glamour industry, replete with fading stars and premature deaths.
Johnson's work bears the marks of a generation of artists sampling readymade images and texts to create seductively laconic pictures. Yet the colourful sheen of Johnson’s photo-based works is also a foil for sexual, political and semantic tensions. The artist’s pictures are encryptions of a Hollywood demi-monde, referring to the cultures from which his work emerges – queer, political, filmic and theoretical.
The exhibition is curated by Los Angeles-based writer Bruce Hainley, and by Antony Hudek, Curator and Deputy Director of Raven Row. Commie Pinko Guy, a publication edited by Hainley with new essays by Morgan Fisher, Lisa Lapinski, Hainley, Hudek and Wayne Koestenbaum, as well as reprints of classic underground queer writing, accompanies the exhibition.