Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
"Armstrong's great advantage is his sensibility for a genre of beauty identified with an adolescence that is not always representative of mere teenage physicality: his art deals with the capacity of evoking fragile beauty that can be lost at any time. His photographs, by the effect of light or gesture, reveal a will of non-committal transcendence. That transcendent disposition speaks to the often melancholic nature of photography. But with an intelligent and thoughtful twist, an Armstrong image imposes something far more optimistic: the possibility of redemption by beauty." Manuel Segade, excerpted from Et in Arcadia Ego in 615 Jefferson Avenue.
Published by Damiani. Edited by Nick Vogelson, Anton Aparin. Introduction by Boyd Holbrook. Text by Manuel Segade. Conversation with Ryan McGinley.
It was for his sharply focused portraits of young men--friends and lovers--that David Armstrong (born 1954) first gained critical attention, alongside his “Boston School” friends Nan Goldin, Jack Pierson, Mark Morrisroe and others. In the 1990s he changed tack somewhat, producing soft-focus cityscapes in which street lights, street corners and urban signage were elaborated into a soft blur. With 615 Jefferson Avenue, Armstrong returns to the subject of his youth. The photographer's first monograph in ten years, it gathers portraits of young boys taken in his turn-of-the-century row house in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, or at his farm in upstate New York, all of which were made in the course of taking fashion photographs. Low-key in their eroticism, these images always aim for a tangible, evident contact with their subjects: “It always has been this act of seduction, where you are trying to get the subjects to reveal themselves before the camera,” Armstrong put it in a recent New York Timesinterview. The rooms in which Armstrong shoots are painted in rich, dense, mint greens and browns, matching the period of the house itself, so that an atmosphere of enveloping interior catches the outlines of these boys, posed upon the many couches that fill Armstrong's home. Filled with the excitement of rediscovering familiar terrain anew, this volume collects 120 of Armstrong's color and black-and-white portraits.