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deutscher Text

Homage to George Grosz     
print size: 136,9 x 111,8 cm


Larry Fink

St.Martins Creek, PA, USA

The Forbidden Pictures - A Political Tableau

A satirical look at America’s current leaders, referencing the decadence and style of Weimar artists George Grosz, Otto Dix, and Max Beckmann.
Originally set to run in The New York Times Magazine in the Fall of 2001, the tragic events of 9/11 and the ensuing media self-censorship created an environment where Fink’s critical images of the president and his men were deemed unpublishable.

First exhibited in Spring 2004 at the DuBois Gallery at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, “The Forbidden Pictures” caused quite a sensation, as the office of director Ricardo Viera received nearly one thousand telephone calls and e-mails in two days.

Of particular offense was a four-by-four foot photograph of a George Bush look-alike fondling a woman’s breast. “The woman has to be seen as a metaphor for our foreign policy,” Fink told The Associated Press. “I think that would be appropriate for what we were doing in our foreign policy: Groping without any good understanding of what we were doing and taking advantage of our imperious power.”

Called “offensive” and “inappropriate,” this photograph outraged conservatives and republicans nationwide, including Steve Elliot of, who told the Allentown Morning Call that the university should “do the decent and honorable thing and take the picture down.” Hardly a surprising reaction considering that the voice that mocks and questions our elected officials has all but been silenced throughout the Bush administration. Leave it to Fink to challenge the status quo.

Homage to Max Beckmann          
print size: 164,8 x 111,8 cm



Lessons in Democracy and Demagoguery

It was time—the election (2000) was stolen, robbed by middlemen on top. Folks who thought the past was the future because they owned the present. Entitlement didn’t come from being lazy; it came from cunning, aggrandizing connivance. The leader was a twice entitled frat boy, a thick-headed intellectual goon, with charisma informed by homily and stubborn gotcha comfort.

It was simple! I was shooting fashion, perhaps a compromise for me, but atrivial, jovial, stylish, learning theater. Why not use its public accessibility for subversion, satire, association, and education? An idea! One of my favorite periods in twentieth-century art was Weimar Germany, with Beckmann, Dix, and Grosz all melting down convention in an impassioned visionary way. Grosz was especially political, but all of them were hyper-aware of the decadence, the despair, the hysteria, and the lies. I suggested to The New York Times Magazine (whose rear end is sometimes gifted with fashion spreads) an idea to replicate the period but loosen it, update it, and tell it anew. There were fashion equivalents and certainly moral and historical ones.

Oh the glee! They said yes. I suggested that rather than the corpulent Weimar German types, why not use our current fraudulent leaders, George W. and his cabinet. Oh the glee! They said yes. Political satire and critical acuity are something rarely if ever done in fashion. Yet another coup.
We searched for the cast of dancers, whores, merrymakers, and priests. We searched for the look-alikes of our own Mr. G. W. and his consortium. We found it all and went to work. Five paintings chosen from the period and three days shooting them, interpreting them, and creating aesthetic clarity and political bedlam.

The pictures were shot on 7/19/01 and were hypothetically scheduled to run in The Times in the fall. 9/11 gave birth to doom. The tragic inevitable moment, the rupture of providence, the rape of the external soul of America. And its aftermath.

Critical images of the president and his men would not be published. In fact, all critical thought was temporarily suspended and the fundamentalist Islamic conspiracy bore the turf for the fundamentalist neoconservative conspiracy that was already in wait for the history that would give it license and muscle. Its muscle is still prominent and will be for some time.

As it became apparent that the presidential team was acting beyond the righteous knee jerk of antiterrorism, when the public critical spirit was on the rise, I offered the pictures again to The Times. No! The New Yorker. No! Harper’s Magazine. No! The European market I felt sure would publish them. But no. Like their influences, the images were banned, not by decree, but through a suppression enabled by tragedy and coincidence.
Here in the halls of political science of Lehigh University, they speak their eye and tongue. They are free. But the ever-evolving question is, are we?

Larry Fink (12/4/03) artist statement from the Lehigh University exhibition of “The Forbidden Pictures”


Homage to Max Beckmann          
print size: 114,0 x 111,8 cm


Larry Finks „Forbidden Pictures“ in der Tradition der Berliner Satire

Der bekannte Fotograf Larry Fink hatte die Konfrontation längst nach dem Wahldebakel vorbereitet. Dann trat höhere Gewalt dazwischen. Doch Fink hielt an seinem Kunst-Skandal-Vorhaben hartnäckig fest: in seinem Projekt „tableaux vivants“ -  2001 geplant als Attacke des New York Times Magazine, nach dem 11. September unterdrückt und schließlich, 2004, in den Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, im Foyer der Political Science vorgestellt.

Als die Ausstellung in Bethlehem eröffnet wurde, wurden die Verantwortlichen, der Kurator der Lehigh Art Galleries, Ricardo Viera, und Larry Fink selbst mit E-Mails und Telefonanrufen bombardiert.

In der Tradition und Manier von Otto Dix, George Grosz und Max Beckmann breitet Fink in grellen Farben, lasziven Posen und zerrissene Kompositionen die Motive lüsterner Gesellinnen und Gesellen in zeitlosen Chambre Separees aus. Allerdings geht es hier nicht um die Cafes, Tanzsäle und Bordelle der Berliner 20er Jahre mit ihren verdrucksten männlichen Charakteren, vor allem Kriegsgewinnlern, Militärs und Schiebern, während der Fleischbeschau der eingekauften Weibchen und der Aussortierung der zurechtgewebten kunstseidenen Mädchen.

Finks Schauspieler-Modelle und seine Politiker-Doubles räkeln sich aneinander vorbei - in voneinander getrennten, beliebig collagierbaren öffentlichen Posen. Es scheint, als ob das „Sex Sells“, die von Seite 1 allzubekannten schrillen Gesten der Models genau den Posituren der Politiker entsprächen, jenen lauten Reden an die entqualifizierte und unkritische Öffentlichkeit, oder ihren etwas leiseren Absprachen mit ausgewählten Firmenvertretern und Lobbyisten – Zwerggiganten, immer das glucksende Geräusch fließenden Erdöls im Ohr.

Government on Crutches             
print size: 114,0 x 111,8 cm

Homage to Otto Dix                    
print size: 114,0 x 111,8 cm

Homage to George Grosz            
print size: 114,0 x 111,8 cm

Homage to George Grosz             
print size: 139,5 x 111,8 cm

Homage to Max Beckmann            
print size: 114,0 x 11,8 cm

Homage to George Grosz              
print size: 159,7 x 11,8 cm

Praise the Lord                             
print size: 114,0 x 11,8 cm

Homage to George Grosz             
print size: 164,8 x 11,8 cm

Homage to Otto Dix                      
print size: 114,0 x 11,8 cm




"I love working with him. I can count on a picture that goes beyond the obvious, a picture that is both stylistically strong and in content reflects the story for which it has been taken." - Elisabeth Biondi, picture editor at New York Magazine

"Larry Fink's photographs are like the stage in a darkened theater. His hand-held flash splendidly illuminates the details of the drama before us and reveals the nuance of the personal moment," wrote Susan Kismaric, associate curator, Museum of Modern Art.

A practitioner of the "snapshot aesthetic", Larry Fink is catalogued with the esteemed ranks of Robert Frank, Diane Arbus and Garry Winogrand. He first picked up the camera at the age of thirteen. He found that taking pictures relaxed the inhibitions of introduction, making social interactions a thing of ease. Amid the crowd, rather than outside it, Fink is not a voyeur, but rather his work speaks a visual vernacular. The results of his tutelage with Lisette Model is that his pictures tend to expose the flaws in the polished façades we all present in the public arena. Fink's images often display the sensitive core of interpersonal-relationships, prevalent despite social posturing, whether mingled among unctuous characters at a high-society benefit or a down-home potluck setting of family.

Larry Fink has more than 60 prints in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art. Most of these pictures are from his first one-man show there in 1979. He has 8 prints currently hanging in the MOMA's new show "Museum As Muse." In 1997 his one-man show "Boxing" opened at The Whitney Museum in New York. He has received two Guggenheim fellowships and two NEA endowments, and presently has a career retrospective touring the museums of Europe. Larry Fink's published books include Social Graces, from his MOMA show, and Boxing from his Whitney show. In February 2000, Larry Fink's newest book Runway was released. In September 2001, Social Graces was re-released in conjunction with shows in Paris, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Editorially, Larry Fink is under contract to Conde Nast and works for Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, and The New York Times Magazine. In May, 1997 he won the SPD gold medal with Dennis Freedman at W Magazine for his story looking at the world behind the scenes at fashion shows. His advertising portfolio includes campaigns for Cunard, Chivas Regal, Smirnoff, Godiva, Nike, Adidas, Baccardi, W Hotels, MasterCard and Bank of New York.

Larry Fink is a tenured professor of photography at Bard College.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2001 Vu Gallery, Paris, France - Retrospective
Yancey Richardson Gallery, NY
Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2000 Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ
Revolution Gallery, Ferndale, MI
Revolution Gallery, NYC
Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1999 Schmidt Dean Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1998-99 Traveling show in Gap, Evry, and Tourcoing, France - Retrospective
1998 Jan Kesner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA - Retrospective
Portuguese Center for Photography, Porto, Portuga
1997 Yancey Richardson Gallery, NYC
Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium — Retrospective
1995 Photo Forum, Frankfurt, Germany - Retrospective
Porto, Portugal
1994 Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland - Retrospective
1993 Silver Eye Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Les Rencontres de Photographie, Arles, France - Retrospective
Gallery Forum, Tarragona, Spain
Newberger Museum, Purchase, NY
1992 Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL
Vigo, Spain
1989 Gallery Foto, Osio, Norway
1987 American Cultural Embassy, Bruxelles, Belgium - Retrospective
Haverford College, Bryn Mawr, PA — Retrospective
1986 Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA
1985 Burden Gallery, NYC
Gallery Forum, Tarragona, Spain
1984 Sander Gallery, NYC
1983 Marcus Pfeifer Gallery, NYC
Werkstatt fur Photographie der VHS Kruezberg, Berlin
1981 San Francisco Museum of Art
Kunst Museum, Dusseldorf
1980 Work Gallery, Zurich
Light Gallery, NYC
1979 Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Sanders Gallery, Washington, DC
Galerie Eric Fabre, Paris
Simon Lowinsky Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Galerie Breiting, Berlin
1978 Sanders Gallery, Washington, DC
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
1977 Yale University, New Haven, CT
Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
1976 Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH
1975 Midtown Gallery, NYC
1973 Yale University School of Fine Arts, New Haven, CT


Selected Group Exhibitions:
2000 Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art, NYC
1999 Museum of Modern Art, NYC
1998-99 Traveling show in Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, Japan
1998 Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Larry Miller Gallery, NYC
1994 National Institute of Photography in the Netherlands
1993 Allentown Museum of Art, Allentown, PA
1992 Museum of Modern Art, NYC
1991 Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Allentown Museum of Art, Allentown, PA
1989 Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
1987 Light Gallery, NYC
1985 Semana Internacional de la Fotografia, Guadelajara
Fotosymposium, Milan
Dubois Gallery, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Allentown Museum, Allentown, PA
Friends of Photography, Carmel, CA
1983 Allentown Museum, Allentown, PA
1981 Museum of Modern Art, NYC
1979-80 American Images, Bell System traveling show and book
1979 Allentown Museum, Allentown, PA
1978 University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Light Gallery, NYC
Prakapas Gallery, NYC
UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
1975 Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY
Midtown Y Gallery, NYC
1973 Midtown Y Gallery, NYC
1972 Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
1970 Museum of Modern Art, NYC
MIT Gallery of Creative Photography, Boston, MA



Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC
Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium
Gov. Dept of Photography, Lisbon, Portugal
Foto Forum, Frankfurt, Germany
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Cleveland Museum of Art, OH
Portland Museum of Art, ME
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Boston Museum of Fine Art, MA
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
New Orleans Museum, LA
San Francisco Museum of Art, CA
Los Angeles Museum of Art, CA
Seattle Museum of Art, WA
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
Houston Museum of Fine Arts, TX
Smithsonian Museum, Washington

Selected Awards and Positions:
1999 Alfred Eisenstaedt Awards for Magazine Photography
1997 Society of Publishing Designers’ Gold Medal, W Magazine

Tenured professor, Bard College, Annandale on the Hudson, NY
1986-87 National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Photography Fellowship

Seattle Arts Council Grant
1979,1976 The John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography
1978-79 Walker Evans Visiting Professor of Art, Yale School of Fine Arts
National Endowment for the Arts, Individual Photography Fellowship

2001 Social Graces (Re-Release) — Powerhouse Cultural Entertainment
2000 Runway - Powerhouse Cultural Entertainment
1997 Boxing - Powerhouse Cultural Entertainment
Fish and Wine - Lafayette College
1996 Uma Cidade Assi - Camara Municipal De Matosinhos
1984 Social Graces - Aperture


Selected Reviews and Articles:
1998 Los Angeles Times, "Suitable for Social Framing," September
Art Issues, November/December
Artforum International: The Best of 1998, December
1997 The Philadelphia Inquirer, September
The New York Times, July
1993 Globe, Paris, July
International Herald Tribune, July
Le Figaro, Paris, July
Le Monde, Paris, July
1989 American Photographer, September
1987 Savvy, "Mob Appeal," February
Lear’s, "Backroom Boys," January
1986 Manhattan, Inc., "Permanent Wave," September
Manhattan, Inc., "All About Atavros," November
Village Voice, Beth Bernstein, November
Village Voice, Beth Bernstein, September
Village Voice, Beth Bernstein, August
Manhattan, Inc., "The Ringleader," April
Cliches, "Impressions d’Amerique," March
1985 Photographic, "Intuitive Light," Franklin Cameron, August
Photographic Society of America Journal, "Two Worlds," June
San Francisco Camera Works, book Review of Social Graces, August
Village Voice View, "The Palladium," a fashion shooting
Manhattan, Inc., "The Maine Event," August
1983 Village Voice, October
New York Times, Sunday Section, Andy Grunberg, October
1980 Picture Magazine, Issue 15, Carter Ratcliff, July
1979 Art in America, "The Lights and Darks of Living it Up," Max Kozloff, September
Creatis, "New York's People Not Working," Christian Schlatter, November
Washington Star, October
Washington Post, October
Modern Photography, October
Soho Weekly News, Andy Grunberg, September
New York TImes, "When the Camera Produces Fiction," Gene Thornton
Village Voice, "That's Entertainment," Ben Lifson, September
1978 Forms, Lehigh University, Ricardo Viera
1977 Progresso Photographico, Roberto Sabatini, Milan
1975 Village Voice, Fred McDarrah, April
1973 Boston Review of the Arts, Carl Belz, January
1972 Village Voice, "Six Photographers View Reality," A.D. Coleman, October
1960 Village Voice, Carol Schwalberg, March


Selected Teaching Positions:
1986-Present Bard College, Professor of Photography, Annandale on the Hudson, NY
1995 School of Visual Arts, MFA Program, NYC
1994 Yale School of Fine Arts, MFA Program, New Haven, CT
1987 New York University, NYC
1978-83 The Cooper Union School of Art, NYC
1977-78 Yale School of Fine Arts, Walker Evans Professor of Photography, New Haven, CT

The New School, NYC



Larry Fink

The Forbidden Pictures - a Political Tableau

21.04. - 20.05.2007

21.04.2007 20:00 h

Es spricht: Dr. Peter V. Brinkemper „Diskursformation: Am - Bush“

Weitere Ausstellungen:

Darryl Baird, Fenton, MI, USA Paul Berger, Seattle, Susan Aus Amerika II

20 Jahre Galerie Lichtblick

Mariette Pathy Allen, Lili Almog, Stephen Althouse, Luis Del Aus Amerika

Aleksandras Macijauskas, Antanas Sutkus, Arturas Valiauga Fotografie aus Litauen

Joakim Eneroth Without End

Steven Benson, Detroit RED, WHITE & BLUE

Matthew Sleeth, Australien, Tour of Duty

various artists, images against war

Harvey Benge, New Zealand killing time in paradise

John Ganis, Detroit, Consuming the American landscape

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