Ryan McGinley’s Yearbook Shut Down an Entire City Block
A week ago, on a balmy Sunday evening in downtown Manhattan, a photography show shut down an entire city block. It was the New York edition of Ryan McGinley’s Yearbook
installation at Team Gallery, where vivid and hedonistic portraits of beautiful youngsters have been wallpapered to every surface in the gallery. I saw a similar exhibition
of McGinley’s Yearbook
pictures in San Francisco last fall, but this new show takes the installation to an even more elaborate and all-encompassing level, coating every surface of the gallery in glossy, chromatic youth-beauty, so that not an inch of white wall remains. The photos, shot over the last 5 years in McGinley’s Chinatown studio, picture sweethearts of the downtown art scene, and everyone looks like they’re having fun. The air is getting colder, so back-to-school vibes are strong, and this seems like the perfect time to be looking at photos called Yearbook. VICE asked Ryan a few questions to find out more.
VICE: How many photos are in the exhibition?
Ryan McGinley: The show has over 700 photographs stuck on the walls. Most people have two different photos from their studio shoot.
How many years did it take you to shoot all the portraits for Yearbook?
The project has taken 5 years. I’ve shot peoples portraits ever month for it in my Chinatown studio in NYC since 2009.
Where did the idea to totally cover the gallery walls come from?
I’ve always loved how street advertisements in NYC are wheat pasted on top of each other. I talked with a guy late one night who was doing it and he explained the process to me.
Who are the people in the photographs?
Everyone I shoot is part of downtown’s creative community. Painters, Musicians, Dancers, Writers, Sculptors or Photographers. Those are the people that understand what I do and are excited to pose nude for me.
What’s a typical studio shoot like?
I really love to have people lay on the floor and slowly move around, there is something so intimate about being on the ground together. Then we pick up the pace and the model gets to choose three songs they love to jam out to and we dance. Sometimes we break out the mini trampoline and jump around in circles on it. I’ve also got a treadmill that we’ve cut the guardrails off of and people run on that. I love collecting old beat up chairs that get thrown out from the streets of Chinatown. I’ve got a collection of them that models sit on, they’ve got character.
From the 2014 VICE Photo Issue: From Off to On
From Off to On is a photo series by German photographer Marina Rosa Weigl. It’s like Asger Carlsen meets a Lynchian interpretation of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid.
"The photos originated from these class portraits I started in 1999, just taking girls who just got out of school and taking a class photo of them. And then it turned into this thing well if they got their clothes on, I should shoot the exact same shot with their clothes off."
Richard Kern’s Doubles
We Talked to a Dick Pic Expert About Vag Pics
Lawyer by day, dick pic critic by night, Madeleine Holden knows how to multi-task. The New Zealander is the curator and commentator behind Critique My Dick Pic
(Link NSFW), a virtual Day of Reckoning for the world’s crappy dick pics, which went viral
almost as soon as it began last September.
While the title alone was strong enough to garner tumblr attention, Holden’s blog is far from a gimmick. Submissions are assigned a letter grade and judged based on composition, lighting, and creativity, but the site has a strict no body- or size-shaming policy, and accepts submissions from anyone with a dick—men, ladies with strap-ons, and trans people are welcome to send in their artfully put together cock shots. Critiques are thoughtful (“Your dick pic is different in that your dick is soft yet you’ve managed to make it visually appealing by cupping it intimately with your hand”), funny (“Dude, this isn’t good. Your own girlfriend has given you a five and she loves you and knows about all your good qualities and likes that cute thing you do with your mouth”), and dripping with feminist swagger, much like Holden’s Twitter presence
As a sender and receiver of the occasional sexy message myself, I appreciate Holden’s efforts. There truly is a dearth of imagination out there when it comes to ways men choose to photograph their dicks. For a long time I held that against them—why was I messing with lighting and angles when I was getting sent the photographic equivalent of that comedy boner boi-oi-oiiing noise? I recently realized, however, that I was sending back full bod shots—this is where I had them beat. Turns out it’s hard (pun intended, forever) to take a pic of just genitals. Solo gens do not a cute pic make. At least not without some work. I thought it might be time to consult an expert. Can the vag pic have a renaissance like the one @moscaddie is helping bring about with the dick pic? We caught up with the dick pic critic, currently traveling around the States on a break from balancing criminal defense with Female God’s work to ask about logs, unsolicited sexts, and the future—if any—of the vag pic.
Note: The interview is worksafe, but consider this a blanket NSFW warning for the links.
VICE: Hi, Madeleine. So, Critique My Dick Pic started in September, inspired by one particularly well-done dick pic. Why do you think the current state of dick pics is so dismal? What are the main mistakes holding dick pics back?
Madeleine Holden: I think that the main problem with dick pics is that men are preoccupied with using them as an advertisement for their size, rather than as a piece of erotic material intended to turn someone else on. That’s the reason that most dick pics are logs
, and why an alarming number of them contain an inanimate object provided for scale
. Pictures like this reek of insecurity and they’re extremely dull. Dick pics should include some non-dick body parts, and a dispiriting number of them don’t.
Another reason that the current state of dick pics is so dismal is that there is a culture of non-consent that surrounds them. Dick pics are often thrust at women unsolicited on dating sites and social media, and they are widely reviled for this reason. We need to encourage senders of dick pics to share them strictly with people who want to see them.
FaceTime Girls Are the New Webcam Girls
The future of cybersex is in the palm of your hands.
Even the President of the United States Must Sometimes Have to Paint Naked
Former president George W. Bush’s two most famous artworks are self-portraits. In one, he stands naked, reflected in the bathroom mirror from the waist up with his back to us, and in another, stretched out in the tub, from his own point-of-view. The latter is the creepier of the two. It’s as if our eyes and head correspond exactly to his—are we looking at our own knees raised in the milky bathtub; our feet and toes peeking out in the distance? Even for homespun realism/surrealism, it’s more than a little perverse. These are intimate moments that we would never be privy to—or particularly want to see—yet here they are, captured and put out into the world as paintings, made by the president himself.
Owning Porno Used to Mean Something, Damnit
1. When I was in high school I kept my porn in a white box. Inside the box was a stack of magazines—almost entirely Playboys, because I liked the clean stuff—as well as a purple folder full of the images I liked best, so that I could spread them out on my bedroom floor and sit in the middle of them, kind of like a crude manual version of Tumblr.
2. The internet really changed the way people masturbate. Today, if you want to see someone naked you just press the buttons and poof, there’s a boob. But as a teenager I remember thinking of pictures of naked women as a kind of secret relic, something you had to search out, anticipate and covet, which made them that much better when you got them.
3. I saw my first porn magazine in fourth grade when some kids in my class were passing one around under the lunch table. I remember feeling a weird sense of doom, like I was going to get caught the second I touched the paper, even though everyone else was laughing about it. I’m not sure what magazine it was, but the pictures were of naked women holding automatic weapons, dressed up like military personnel. I remember the feeling of seeing more than I actually saw.
4. The kid who owned that magazine briefly ran a business where you could buy a page out of other, similar magazines for a dollar. He carried them around in a duffel bag with a padlock on it. They were his dad’s magazines, he said, and there were more where those came from, if you had the money. I never bought one. Eventually he was caught and suspended.
5. I used to occasionally go to work with my dad. I remember feeling an insane sense of agency whenever he would stop at this one gas station that had a rack of tattoo magazines with tits in them. I would stand in front of the rack and wait until I knew I had half a second with no one watching, and then I would open the magazine as if I didn’t mean to, in case someone caught me. So instead of full visions, I caught flashes and tried to embed them deep in my memory so that I would be able to see them for a long time afterward whenever I shut my eyes.
6. A very brief, insanely vivid memory from when I was probably four or five, of picking up a magazine my dad’s friends were passing around at a camp in the woods, and the men laughing as my dad took it away from me before I could see. I remember my uncle saying something to the effect of, “one day you can have that,” and everyone laughing. I don’t remember many other things from that early stage in my life.