Terry Richardson’s opening at OH WOW Gallery in Los Angeles was a true celebration of photography. Perhaps inspired by this first glimpse at new work of one of the most prolific and notorious photographers, or the exclusivity maintained by a line spanning several blocks, came the consequent need to take and expedite pictures into all forms of social media as unabashed proof of attendance. Aside from the over 25 images presented in the exhibition, the gallery danced with flickering flashbulbs, flashes of iPhones, and in every moment, a woman posed before a large pair of painted lips that would seconds later be uploaded to Instagram. Right away, it was clear: just as much as the patrons came to see the pictures, they were there to be a part of them as well. Even Richardson, who interacted with the crowd the entire night, took many pictures of his own, placing eager guests in front of his giant prints.
It is no surprise that such a collection, entitled TERRYWOOD, would inspire this kind of excitement in Los Angeles. With the city as the basis of his subject matter, Richardson presents an interpretation of Hollywood that employs local landscapes and icons, from landmarks to signs to infamous characters, all shown in a way that explores the nature of the city and the idealized dreams of Hollywood. In this vein, the volume of iconic Hollywood faces showing their support (Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, James Franco, Ron Jeremy, to name a few) was equally foreseen. Their attendance could be attributed to Oscar weekend, and if so, the Oscar-from-afar but up close, Terry Richardson trophies displayed in the center of the room are all the more appropriate for the occasion.
Throughout the night, the pictures of pictures, of people taking pictures, meant an evening for Richardson not soon to be forgotten. The massive turnout and tendency of this zealous crown to condense in any area where he might be standing only strengthens the idea that this evening was every bit about seeing the art as trying to become part of it. Isn’t that what Hollywood is about anyway, finding your way into the spotlight that once lured you there to begin with?
So much fun! Look for more on the Opening Ceremony blog!