Published by Damiani/Paul Kasmin Gallery. Foreword by Shana Nys Dambrot, Paul Watson.
The latest monograph from David LaChapelle (born 1963) comprises two separate series, Gas Station and Refineries, each of which was shot on location in the rainforests of Maui and on the coastlines of California. This idyllic scenery is brutally punctured by LaChapelle's scale models of disturbingly dazzling oil refineries and petrol stations with bright, fluorescent smokestacks--handcrafted from cardboard and a vast array of recycled materials from egg cartons to tea canisters, hair curlers and other by-products of our petroleum-based, disposability-obsessed culture. The striking contrast between the fueling stations and refineries and their naturalistic backdrops is both captivating and repelling: though the natural world seems on the verge of engulfing these man-made creations, the eerie, unnaturally lit buildings suggest the extent of the destruction already caused, even as their chromatic glare distracts from their function.
The photographs of David LaChapelle (born 1963) are among the most instantly recognizable images in contemporary photography. His über-pop color portraits of celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Marilyn Manson and Kanye West (whom he has portrayed, respectively, as King Kong, a crossing guard and Black Jesus) have propelled his work outside the closed society of galleries and museums into a wider public arena. Thus Spoke LaChapelle is the first retrospective of the artist’s work to include photographs from the mid-1980s up to the present, plus a range of work that has never previously appeared. More than an exhibition catalogue, this book presents the culmination of LaChapelle’s artistic activity to date: a world in which religious iconography comes in pink latex trappings and a new surrealism explodes in the conjunction of flaming pianos, giant hamburgers, orally fixated Triceratops and Day-Glo disaster sites.