Larry Sultan: Pictures from Home. Yancey Richardson. New York

“These are my parents. From that simple fact, everything follows. I realize that beyond the rolls of film…is the wish to take photography literally. To stop time. I want my parents to live forever.”

Larry Sultan

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 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 is currently in previews and opens 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.

Larry Sultan, Fixing the Vacuum, 1991
Larry Sultan, Fixing the Vacuum, 1991

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.”

Yancey Richardson

525 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011

Lisbeth Thalberg
Lisbeth Thalberg
Journalist and artist (photographer). Editor of the art section at MCM.
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