The Sun And Others Stars: Katy Grannan And Charlie White

The Sun And Others Stars: Katy Grannan And Charlie White
On View:
July 22–October 14, 2012
BCAM, Level 2
LACMA Presents Dual Exhibition of California-based Photographers Katy Grannan and Charlie White
Exhibition Highlights Two Bodies of Work Exploring Concepts of Identity Through Portraiture

(Los Angeles–June 6, 2012)–The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents The Sun and Other Stars: Katy Grannan and Charlie White, marking the first major museum exhibition to display the two photographers’ work in tandem. Grannan and White both employ portraiture to examine the fragility and resilience of individuality in a culture that has become increasingly enthralled by media representations of the ideal self. Through nearly seventy-five photos, as well as White’s video animation and a three-channel video installation by Grannan, this exhibition examines the complexity of the human condition and of modern subjectivity in particular.

“Bringing together two disparate bodies of work by Grannan and White provides insight into how the traditional genre of portraiture is adapted to address current preoccupations,” said Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head of LACMA’s Wallis Annenberg Photography Department. The Sun and Other Stars: Katy Grannan and Charlie White is the latest in a string of photography exhibitions at LACMA this year, following Robert Adams: The Place We Live, A Retrospective Selection of Photographs; Fracture: Daido Moriyama; and Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol. Additional photography shows scheduled in 2012 include Michael Heizer: Actual Size and Robert Mapplethorpe: XYZ–a small sampling of the thousands of Mapplethorpe photographs jointly acquired by LACMA, the Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute last year.

Exhibition Overview

The exhibition presents Katy Grannan’s Boulevard series, featuring an array of adult subjects plucked from the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Starkly contrasting her subjects against the solarized white stucco walls of California’s urban streets, Grannan draws these idiosyncratic individuals out from anonymity with uncompromising detail. In the camera’s rigidly frontal perspective, the subjects’ wistful gazes evoke Nathanael West’s doleful vision of the Hollywood dream, highlighting the alienation that exists between reality, desire, and aspiration. The show also presents Grannan’s first foray into film, a three-channel black-and-white video entitled The Believers. The work functions as a stage on which her female subjects–Melissa J. Weiss, Nicole Strada, and Linda Martinez-rehearse their fragmented stories of ambition and self-fashioning. The boundaries between fact and fantasy are blurred when the documentary nature of The Believers’ mise-en-scène is choreographed into the artist’s imagined narratives.