Ryan McGinley: The Kids Were Alright
The first book to examine Ryan McGinley’s early photographs and Polaroids—raw, visceral portraits of his coterie of friends and artists in downtown New York City. Published to accompany an exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Ryan McGinley: The Kids Were Alright focuses on the photographer’s early work from 1998 to 2003, the year of his solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. These early photographs and Polaroids—many of which have never been exhibited or published— document his friends and collaborators in downtown New York City. In the process, McGinley created a powerful portrait of his generation and their often debauched lifestyle: gritty, daring, and focused on moments of both pleasure and tedium. McGinley’s singular ability to capture the mood and emotional depth of a moment is evident even from the earliest years of his career. Curator Nora Burnett Abrams offers the most comprehensive consideration to date of this important work in her essay, and other contributions— including an interview with McGinley and artist Dan Colen and several short reminiscences from many of his subjects and social circle at the time— will provide context and commentary on the more than 100 works in the volume.