JTF (just the facts): A total of 51 color photographs, unframed and thumbtacked directly to the walls, and hung in the small, single room gallery space. The show checklist was very sparse on details, so there is no definitive information on printing process used or specific image dates. Physical dimensions range from 8×10 to 20×24, with most sized 11×14; all are available in editions of 5+2AP. A single video is also part of the installation, but no information was included on the checklist. The floor of the gallery is covered with loose prints, which have become crumpled and smashed by the foot traffic. A monograph of this body of work was recently published by Morel Books (here). (Installation shots at right.)
The premise and organization of this exhibit is unpretentiously simple: take images of his two parents (who were separated early in his life), and intermix them on the walls, with images of his childhood (school portraits with bushy hair and the like) strewn across the floor. His flash-lit, snapshot aesthetic makes for pictures that seem casual and honest, with an immediacy that is sometimes too close for comfort. His mother is captured as an ecstatic free spirit, constantly laughing or mischievously smiling, smoking or giving the camera the finger in eccentric joy. His father tends toward more gloomy, downbeat moods, often staring directly into the camera, exposing his scarred wrists, or offering a posed but seemingly unadorned look into his soul. His all capitals marker scrawls all over the house and in notebooks range from the upsetting (HARD TO SWALLOW – FEEL LIKE I’M CHOKING) to the dreary (SHIT STILL IN TOILET) to the authentically poignant (I AM VERY PROUD TO BE YOUR DAD). All of the works combine wince-inducing harsh reality with a genuine, personal tenderness that ensures the pictures don’t drift into mockery.
Collector’s POV: The works in the show are priced between $2500 and $5000, based on size. Richardson’s photographs have been intermittently available in the secondary markets in recent years, with prices ranging from $1000 to $16000. That said, given the small number of lots that have come up for sale at auction, gallery retail is still likely the best option for collectors interested in following up.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
Terry Richardson, Mom & Dad
Through December 4th
208 Forsyth Street
New York, NY 10002