Marlborough Chelsea is pleased to present Wherever you go, a solo exhibition of new work by Ari Marcopoulos opening the evening of Thursday, May 10, 2012 from 6PM – 8PM at the gallery located at 545 West 25th Street.
Often atmospheric and abstracted, the works comprising Wherever you go by renowned photographer, filmmaker and artist Ari Marcopoulos include grandly-scaled pigment prints and smaller photographs on rice paper that, through processes of multiple printings of the same image, result in lush surfaces of densely textured black and white. Marcopoulos’ signature time-stamped photos, made with an old, inexpensive point-and-shoot camera, which are then further mediated through photocopying and scanning, are given a dramatically new presentation as unique artworks. These works depict many of Marcopoulos’ familiar subjects, from graffiti scrawled walls and skate-sessioned architecture to the more close-at-hand studies that the artist has made of his own family and friends that have been atomized and degraded through reproduction.
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.