Friday, September 18, 2009

Ryan McGinley @Alison Jacques

NOTE: This review has been contributed by a collector correspondent in London. While the format is the same as our usual New York reviews, the content and rating in this case were provided by a more local collector. Background on the collector correspondent program can be found here.

JTF (just the facts): A total of 24 c-prints, framed in white, were hung in the entrance area, the two main exhibition rooms on the ground floor and also the viewing rooms upstairs in the gallery. The prints range in size from approximately 11x14 all the way up to 72x110, and were shot over 2008-2009. (Installation shots at right, via Alison Jacques Gallery.)

Comments/Context: Ryan McGinley opened his first exhibition in the UK last Thursday, 10th September, at Alison Jacques Gallery in London with a show of prints from his new body of work entitled Moonmilk. The images have been created after McGinley took a small group of young men and women into caves across America, and with the use of coloured lighting, created a series of psychedelic underground landscapes.

The exhibition itself was intelligently hung and a number of the images were particularly strong, with my favourite being Sean (Inside Heart), Grace & Tracy (Goliath) and Wes (Falling). The latter image was particularly powerful and was used for the cover of the limited edition book entitled Moonmilk, published by Morel (here) to coincide with the London opening. I think in overall terms this latest body of work is a positive evolution for McGinley, who of course was thrust into the limelight when he was chosen to exhibit his work in the First Exposure Series at the Whitney back in 2003 at the tender age of 24. Perhaps the most significant departure from earlier work such as The Kids are Alright and I Know Where the Summer Goes is that the models themselves are predominantly not the focus of the images, but rather are used to provide context for the ethereal landscapes that exist in underground caves. Indeed in some of the most powerful images, the human form is very tiny or one can only see a head or an upper torso in the rock formations.

The event was very well attended with an expected mix of people from both the art and fashion world and has been widely covered in the British press, which has helped draw significant attendance in the days following the opening.

Collector's POV: Price wise, framed prints are refreshingly good value, as they mostly range between £6000 to £10000, depending on size and are limited to editions of just 3 + 2 APs. Although McGinley's early work drew comparisons with Nan Goldin, Larry Clark and Wolfgang Tillmans and he has even been compared to Robert Mapplethorpe, I think he has earned his own space and his work sits well with my own collection.

Ryan McGinley is also represented in New York by Team Gallery (here) and his prints have entered the secondary markets recently, with a handful of lots coming up for sale since 2006. Prices have ranged from $2000 to $23000, largely based on size.

Rating: ** (two stars) VERY GOOD (rating system described here)

Transit Hub:
  • Artist website (here)
  • Guardian review (here)
Ryan McGinley
Through October 8th

Alison Jacques Gallery
16-18 Berners Street
London W1T 3LN

1 comment:

gphoto said...

Very nice to see a London review. Thanks very much for contributing.