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Gagosian Quarterly

Spring 2020 Issue

Roe Ethridge

During a conversation with David Rimanelli, Roe Ethridge reflected on photographs that he made during the late 1990s and early 2000s after moving to New York. They spoke as Ethridge was preparing for his exhibition Old Fruit.

Roe Ethridge

Roe Ethridge, The Pink Bow, 2001–02, chromogenic print, 30 × 24 inches (76.2 × 61 cm)

I shot this in my parents’ basement. My mom is a bit of a basement hoarder and I went down there one day to just dig through, maybe get rid of some things for her, maybe take some photos. This one box had all of these random items in it—the pink bow, but also a Christian brochure and old pictures that I had taken when I was really young. I was compelled to take this picture because it sort of resonated on a Jeff Koons by way of Paul Outerbridge level—color adoration, the elevation of what others might call kitsch. I loved that stuff; it is a part of who I am.


Roe Ethridge

Left: Roe Ethridge, Pigeon, 2001, chromogenic print, 50 × 35 inches (127 × 88.9 cm)

Right: Roe Ethridge, Pigeon, 2001, chromogenic print, 38 × 30 inches (96.5 × 76.2 cm)

It wasn’t my original intention, but it was out of necessity that I had to rent the pigeons. I tried to do it in the city, with the pigeon racers on the rooftops, but it was just too unwieldy.

I needed a more controlled environment and then I realized, oh, in TV and movies the birds are just like models. It transformed into this “rent-a-muse” context that I ended up loving.


Roe Ethridge

Roe Ethridge, Refrigerator, 1999, chromogenic print, 30 × 24 inches (76.2 × 61 cm)

I had this unending love for the decorative, for pattern. I was and remain obsessed with Henri Matisse. But I also loved the flat, neutral way a 4 × 5 camera rendered the architectural lines. My photo Refrigerator [1999] is a good example of these dueling impulses. The composition was aesthetic, but it was also personal, a nostalgia for the eye-boggling, baroque interiors that I grew up with in the South.


Roe Ethridge

Roe Ethridge, Ambulance Accident, 2000, chromogenic print, 40 × 50 ¼ inches (101.6 × 127.6 cm)

When I took this picture I was shooting portraits of UPS drivers, so I had my large format camera and film and I was heading back to Williamsburg. As I was walking to the L train, there at 6th Avenue and 14th, there was this scene—and if you remember, there was a newsstand there on the northwest corner of the street, and I told the guys working there, “I work for the New York Times. I need to get on your roof.” And they’re like, “Okay, you can do whatever you want.” And then the cops came and of course said, “Get down from there!” I was like, “It’s okay, I work for the New York Times.” [laughter] It worked for enough time for me to get eight frames off.  Of course, I wasn’t working for the New York Times that day, but I had a few weeks prior . . .


Roe Ethridge

Roe Ethridge, New York Water Catskills, 2000, chromogenic print, 32 × 50 inches (81.3 × 127 cm)

At the time of this photo I was working on a show that was connecting the pigeons, water, and delivery systems. I was pleased with the works I included in the Greater New York show at MoMA PS1 in 2000; that’s when I showed a model portrait, the UPS logo, and I got into the conversation around this idea of delivery systems and photography’s complicity in those mechanisms. This photo of a river upstate that leads to the Hudson plugged in perfectly with this. I was trying to devise a method for making a photo show that didn’t have a thesis. I didn’t want to do German objective photography, and I didn’t want to be just intellectualizing. I wanted to actually author pictures and make beautiful pictures that surprised me; I desired to discover something. Looking back, I can see how I was trying to do it all. I think that’s why The Pink Bow was so important; it’s this metaphor for that thinking, a ribbon looping back on itself with a decorative flourish.

Artwork © Roe Ethridge; Roe Ethridge: Old Fruit, 976 Madison Avenue, New York, February 26–May 30, 2020

Roe Ethridge, Oslo Grace at Willets Point, 2019, dye sublimation print on aluminum.

In Conversation
Roe Ethridge and Antwaun Sargent

From his early work for magazines in the 1990s to recent projects with the designer Telfar Clemens, Roe Ethridge has consistently challenged the distinctions between commercial and conceptual photography that long defined the medium. Antwaun Sargent recently caught up with him to discuss the moment that confirmed the artist’s understanding of the photographic image’s potential for boundary-hopping ubiquity in the contemporary era.

Twelve Tracks: Roe Ethridge

Shortlist
Twelve Tracks: Roe Ethridge

Roe Ethridge shares the transportive powers of his playlist “Teenage Chemicals in 1985,” a soundtrack that began playing in those formative years and hasn’t stopped since.

The cover of the Spring 2020 edition of the Gagosian Quarterly magazine. A Cindy Sherman photograph of herself dressed as a clown against a rainbow background.

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2020

The Spring 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #412 (2003) on its cover.

Diana Widmaier-Picasso standing in front of a bookcase

Picasso and Maya: An Interview with Diana Widmaier-Picasso

Diana Widmaier-Picasso curated a presentation at Gagosian, Paris, to celebrate the publication of Picasso and Maya: Father and Daughter at the end of 2019. This comprehensive reference publication explores the figure of Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s beloved eldest daughter, throughout Picasso’s work and chronicles the loving relationship between the artist and his daughter. In this video, Widmaier-Picasso details her ongoing interest in the subject and reflects on the process of making the book.

Self-Reflections: Roe Ethridge Innocence II

Self-Reflections: Roe Ethridge Innocence II

Angela Brown considers the wide-ranging photographs included in Roe Ethridge: Innocence II.  

Innocence II

Innocence II

A photography portfolio by Roe Ethridge, accompanied by Saul Anton’s The Story of L.

Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall

In Conversation
Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall

On the occasion of a major survey of Andreas Gursky’s work at the Hayward Gallery in London, Gursky and Jeff Wall discuss the state of photography and the evolution of the medium.

Cover of the Winter 2019 Gagosian Quarterly, featuring a selection from a black-and-white Christopher Wool photograph

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2019

The Winter 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a selection from Christopher Wool’s Westtexaspsychosculpture series on its cover.

Rudolf Stingel

Rudolf Stingel

In July 2017, a special installation of paintings was shown at Casa Malaparte, Capri, the famous house built by the author, publisher, diplomat, and filmmaker Curzio Malaparte.

Substance and Shadow

Substance and Shadow

Alberto Giacometti’s iconic sculptures have become the focus of Peter Lindbergh’s photographic gaze. An exhibition at Gagosian London brings together the sculptures and the photographs.

Man Ray

Man Ray

In the early 1980s, Ira Nowinski visited a studio frozen in time.

Zeng Fanzhi’s Blue

Zeng Fanzhi’s Blue

A slideshow containing photographs of the creation of Blue (2015) by Zeng Fanzhi.