Photographer Larry Sultan Retrospective Opens at LACMA


Later this week the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents the first retrospective of works by Larry Sultan (1946–2009), the highly influential California photographer. Titled Larry Sultan: Here and Home, the exhibition includes more than 200 photographs ranging from Sultan’s conceptual and collaborative works of the 1970s to his solo works made in later years.

Sultan grew up in the San Fernando Valley, which inspired a number of his projects. For example, his web site describes The Valley (1998-2003) as an examination of “…the adult film industry and the Valley’s middle-class tract homes that serve as pornographic film sets.” In addition to that collection of images, this exhibition brings together four other bodies of Sultan’s work, including Evidence (1977), made collaboratively with Mike Mandel; Swimmers (1978–81); Pictures from Home (1982–92); and Homeland (2006–2009).


Boxers – Mission Hills, 1999. Photo by Larry Sultan

As I looked at some of these photographs while preparing to write this post, I was particularly drawn to Sultan’s vivid, color-saturated images found in his deeply personal book, Pictures From Home. Within that collection, I especially love Sultan’s photograph of his father titled Practicing Golf Swing, 1986. The composition is wonderful. The father in the center – his swing frozen in time, the television off to the side – its image also frozen, the gauzy curtains separating indoor and outdoor space and the bright green carpet standing in for grass.


Practicing Golf Swing, 1986. Photo by Larry Sultan

If you appreciate artists who push boundaries, challenge conventions, and explore themes of home and family, I think you’ll enjoy this exhibition.


When: November 9, 2014 through March 22, 2015

Where: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles

Cost: This exhibition is included in General Admission