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Groundbreaking Photography Series, "Larry Clark: Tulsa," Opens Aug. 30

Graphic Depictions of Middle America’s Youth Captured in Controversial Photographs

NORFOLK, Va. – (August 20, 2014) – The Chrysler Museum of Art presents Larry Clark: Tulsa, an exhibition of the early work of one of the most influential and controversial figures in contemporary American art. This show will be on view from Aug. 30, 2014, to Jan. 18, 2015, and admission is free.

The Chrysler Museum’s rich photography collection includes Clark’s entire 50-work portfolio Tulsa, first published as a book in 1971. This exhibition will display the complete Tulsa series alongside a small group of recent gifts to the Museum, six photos from Clark’s second major project, Teenage Lust (1983), on view here for the first time.

Created between 1963 and 1971, Tulsa is a series of photographs exploring methamphetamine abuse in the artist’s Oklahoma hometown. Clark struggled personally with addiction, and his firsthand access to this underground subculture allowed him to capture the dark reality of America’s drug crisis in voyeuristic, snapshot-style black-and-white photos. These images fearlessly relate the physical and emotional pain of the addicts as their youthful laughter gives way to tears. Critics have praised Clark’s raw and unapologetic depictions of the consequences of drug abuse, but many viewers have been troubled by the nudity and violence in these works.

"I am proud that the Chrysler is exhibiting these tough and thought-provoking photographs," says Director Bill Hennessey. "As an educational institution, we have a responsibility to challenge our visitors to see our less-than-perfect world in new and fresh ways."

Larry Clark’s first art training came through his mother, a professional photographer who specialized in baby portraits. He studied at Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and later served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. Since the 1971 publication of Tulsa, he has won numerous awards, including a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and representation in the Whitney Biennial. His photographs appear in major museum collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

"The Chrysler is incredibly fortunate to own the complete Tulsa series," says Alex Mann, Brock Curator of American Art and organizer of this show. "Each one of these photos is a bold composition, with sharp contrasts and deep shadows heightening the tension. Hang all 50 together in one show, and then you truly feel the full impact of their punch."

In addition to his ongoing work as a photographer, Larry Clark is now one of America’s most respected and innovative filmmakers. His first feature film, the 1995 drama Kids, explored teenage sexuality in the early years of the AIDS crisis. Clark recently received top honors at the Rome International Film Festival for his 2012 film Marfa Girl, soon to be released by Spotlight pictures. As in the Tulsa series, his works in both photography and film continue to address America’s youth culture and its struggles with sexuality, crime, substance abuse, and violence.

Mann will lead a special gallery talk about this hard-hitting exhibition during Third Thursday, September 18. The talk will begin at the Welcome Desk in Huber Court at 6:15 p.m. Third Thursday admission is $5 (free for Museum Members and children, though some parents will find this exhibition unsuitable for young children).

About the Chrysler Museum of Art
The recently expanded Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection was given to the Museum by Walter Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. In the years since Chrysler’s death in 1988, the Museum has dramatically expanded its collection and extended its ties with the Norfolk community. The Museum now has rapidly growing collections, especially of contemporary glass and 21st-century works.

In 2011, the Chrysler opened a full-service glass studio to tie with a 560-pound capacity glass furnace, a full hot shop, a flameworking studio, nine annealing ovens, and a coldworking shop. In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art also administers two historic houses in downtown Norfolk: the Moses Myers House and the Willoughby-Baylor House.

The Chrysler Museum of Art, One Memorial Place, Norfolk, and its Perry Glass Studio at 745 Duke St., are open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. The Historic Houses on East Freemason Street are open weekends.

General admission is free at all venues. For more information on the Chrysler Museum of Art, visit www.chrysler.org.

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