“I gotta roll, I can’t stand still. Got a flamin’ heart, can’t get my fill. …Didn’t take long ‘fore I found out, what people mean by down and out.”—Led Zeppelin
Philip-Lorca diCorcia was awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1989. He took the $45,000 grant money, his 6 x 9 Linhof camera, an assistant, and headed to Los Angeles to create, what has since become, one of his most memorable series, “Hustlers.” These dispassionate portraits of male prostitutes, including a forthcoming monograph from Steidl, are now on display at David Zwirner gallery in New York.
This important exhibit marks 20 years since diCorcia’s first solo show in 1993 at the Museum of Modern Art. The new show offers 40 photographs (along with 15 newly produced works) each notably captioned with the name, age, hometown, and the amount of government-sponsored money diCorcia paid for the hustler’s time.
More than twenty years later these classic, diCorcia images still resonate. What’s different, however, is that now in our 21st Century of universal, instantaneous information, the transaction cost for human flesh is widely understood. —Lane Nevares
I think this work is beautiful and haunting. It definitely questions the power of the photographer and ethics of image-making, but I think what is more important is the socioeconomic element that came into play of the making of this work.