Even the President of the United States
Has Sometimes Got To Stand Naked.


Photographs by Ari Marcopoulos.
JRP/Ringier, Zurich, 2006. 160 pp., 160 color illustrations, 8½x10¼".

Even for a family portrait that approaches the confessional, this one has an edge. In the overall structure, this book (published for his recent P.S.1 MoMA show) intersperses the domestic with occasional pictures from his travels, which guides the reader as if through a restless dream of kinship and travel, from intimacy to far distance. Nothing cozy though; Marcopoulos’s wife and two sons are the main characters, and compelling in their directness (especially that of Jennifer’s gaze). But their personalities remain fiercely individual, and ultimately elusive, perhaps even to Marcopoulos. They seem to live the same cycles any young family would; moving from one coast to the other, childhood to adolescence (with all its scabs, scars and diseases), medical scares, and in the more beatific portraits, they seem visited by the nameless existential anxiety that can hover over us all. The provoking qualities and offhand, improvised look that Marcopoulos honed in his work with subculture tribes—snowboarders, skateboarders, hip hop fans—are still present here. But from one spread to the next the work can shift from this quotidian nearness to an elegiac, longview landscape from rural California, or Hokkaido, Minnesota or Iran. Already caught up in this dream, everyone here seems haunted; the children by the future (see the difference in the gaze of son Cairo in the last portrait of the book), and the parents by the past. Jennifer poses in front of posters of an old love from another world—the New York art scene of the ‘80s. And in ostensibly the most confrontational photo of the book, Intercourse I, the sex scene is witnessed in the same room by an Adam Fuss photogram of a baby; raw coupling itself is shadowed by art, and irony. ALAN RAPP Read Publisher's Description.

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