Naked Truth

Ryan McGinley’s Stripped-Down Visions

Ryan McGinley’s photographs have always had a deep affiliation with nature. His infamous annual road trips have documented a gang of friends cavorting semi-clad to nude across the US, while his forays into fashion include a recent, stirring short film for Pringle, in which the actress Tilda Swinton explores secluded forests and windswept fields in the Scottish Highlands. But for all the trappings of bucolic locations, McGinley has from the start aimed to capture the unfettered abandon of ephemeral adolescence. For his new exhibition at New York’s Team Gallery, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, running from today through April 17, the photographer has reined in his pastoral tendencies, presenting instead a collection of studio-shot black and white portraits, taken over the course of two years, that capture the spirited essence of his favorite subject: youth. The subjects are all nude and the studio unfurnished, although a couple of surreal props, including an owl, make an appearance. Interspersed are images of the aurora borealis––the mysterious, naturally occurring phenomenon that appears throughout the northern polar region––that place the new photographs within the larger context of McGinley’s body of work.

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