When Larry Sultan set out to photograph his parents and their pursuit of the American dream in the 1980s, he had no idea that his work would resonate 40 years later. This month the work is being celebrated by both a gallery exhibition and a Broadway show.
Pictures from Home, an exhibition of photographs by Larry Sultan, will be on view at Yancey Richardson Gallery from February 23 through April 8, 2023. The exhibition coincides with a Broadway play of the same name, starring Nathan Lane as Larry Sultan’s father, Zoë Wanamaker as Sultan’s mother, and Danny Burstein as the photographer. The show opened February 9 at Studio 54 Theater.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Larry Sultan made images of his parents in Southern California, capturing spontaneous and staged photographs that explore the complexities of family dynamics, played out in the suburban landscapes of Los Angeles and Palm Desert. Revealing the idiosyncratic flow of ordinary life, home movie stills and photographs from the series were shown widely, including in a pivotal 1989 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, alongside work by John Baldessari, John Divola, Robert Heinecken, and other distinguished artists.
Pictures from Home also became a transformative photography book, originally published by Abrams in 1992 and re-published by MACK in 2021. Considered a landmark in narrative photography, the book blends a candid memoir with family snapshots from the 1950s and 1960s, with the images processing and reassessing family history in a deeply personal style.
Sultan noted that he wanted the images in Pictures from Home to “become part of a larger narrative…to slam up against other images (an afterimage). I want to measure how a life was lived against how a life was dreamed.”
Larry Sultan (b. 1946, Brooklyn; d. 2009, California) grew up in California’s San Fernando Valley, which became a source of inspiration for many of his projects. Sultan’s work has been exhibited and published widely. Most recently, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) presented a retrospective exhibition dedicated to Sultan’s work. His photography is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; LACMA; SFMoMA; and others. Sultan served as a Distinguished Professor of Photography at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
Larry Sultan : Pictures from Home
from February 23 through April 8, 2023
Yancey Richardson Gallery
525 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011