Ryan McGinleySomewhere Place (2011)

This is easily my favorite McGinley creation–followed closely by Pickup Truck, 2013, Untitled (Bathtub), 2005,  Running Field, 2007, Dakota (Hair), 2004 + Ann (Windy Truck), 2007.

As for the rest of it? I’m conflicted.

What attracts me to the work–its restless + vital physicality as well as the way the images I like thrum with a dreamlike unbounded anarchic togetherness–stems directly from party line criticism: the fuel of charmed youth, the match of absented consequences.

Plus, the work is goddamn pretty as you please; and when you tall that with it’s unmediated immediacy–so rarely seen in galleries–and it’s cleary how + why McGinley became the youngest artist to have a solo show at the Whitney.

What, to me, is off putting is the artist’s reliance on goosing the viewer’s reptile brain. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that McGinley is conceptually vacuous–but his work lacks anything even remotely resembling the conceptual sophistication of his predecessors (i.e. Nan Goldin + Larry Clark).

In the same breath, though, I can’t think of another imagemaker who so fairly divides his focus between male bodied and female bodied subjects. And that’s not nothing. Especially, given his impressive ability to unify contrived naturalism with an ultimately hollow aesthetics that still has the capacity to resonate deeply with the viewer.

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