Larry Sultan

Swingers, Stars, Sprinklers and Mom

On view March 9 - April 14, 2019


James Barron Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of photographs by Larry Sultan. Sultan explored themes of home and family in works that balance the dichotomy of found and constructed environments. The works in our exhibition come from Sultan’s series Pictures from Home (1992) and The Valley (2004), both of which reflect Sultan’s fascination with the American Dream. Boxers, Mission Hills, and Sharon Wild capture intimate, off-screen moments during the production of pornographic films, a thriving industry in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. In James Barron’s interview with Rebecca Lord, the subject of Boxers, Mission Hills, Rebecca recalls the moment the image was captured: “I just remember not having seen him take this picture. This shot was fast and so perfect.”

Mom on Chaise Longue and Practicing Golf Swing, from Pictures from Home, present another kind of intimacy: a glimpse into Sultan’s family life and childhood. In a 2003 interview, Sultan said, “I find a lot of depictions of suburban life to be quite shallow. Either they’re hypercritical, like new topographics where tract homes are seen as generic structures for generic lives, or they’re the kind of one-dimensional dramas or sitcoms that are prevalent in popular culture. Neither of these depictions get to the complex desires or longings underlying this great American dream of suburban home ownership. To me, the suburban home is a kind of projection screen for fantasies, it’s rich for storytelling.”

The five works in our show are some of the most iconic of Sultan’s images, ranging from the 1980s to the early 2000s. These works highlight the interplay of fiction and documentary, the personal and the public, that defines Sultan’s work. In the words of Rebecca Lord, "Larry captured intimacies in a world where everything was superficial."