“That was total crap,” growled one hateful hipster as I approached the door at Ryan McGinley‘s photo show at the Team Gallery in Soho Thursday night. “Don’t even bother.” There are many reasons to heap scorn on Mr. McGinley: the former Jersey skatepunk had a Whitney Museum solo show at 25, hangs out with gum-painting charlatan Dan Colen, and oh yeah, he has a steady stream of beautiful people willing to drop trou for his lens.
The green-eyed naysayers need to get over themselves and the trappings of McGinley’s art fame, though, as this show, “I Know Where the Summer Goes,” has some of his most dreamy and haunting photos yet. Shot on 4,000 rolls of film last summer all across America, these snaps still show young lovelies and their naughty bits, but this time they’re running across deserts, canyons, and highways, falling in mid-air, or else dancing through a rain of fireworks sparks (my favorite). Once derided as a pale imitation of Larry Clark or Nan Goldin, this shows him maturing (he’s now 30) and looking for his place in the world—and in nature.
All this was hardly visible through the mob of scenesters braving a rainy night and blocking my view. Was it just to see a flash of titty or dick? Or to hobnob with Ryan’s famous fans? Photographer Terry Richardson, model Agyness Deyn, various Misshapes, and REM’s Michael Stipe all came and payed homage to McGinley. The sweaty throng is gone now—go check it out for yourself. But first peek a sampling of McGinley’s work after the jump [semi NSFW].