Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man. Ryan McGinley

Ryan McGinley took a circuitous route to me.

In 1999 I was reviewing senior photography students' portfolios at Parsons. Afterwards, Vince Aletti and I compared notes about the work we had seen. He asked me if I had looked at Roberto De Luna's photographs. I hadn't, but I followed up with Roberto and invited him to come show me his work. I thought his pictures were interesting and asked him to get back in touch in six month's time when he had more work to show me. That's always a good test for a young artist - to see if they actually follow up and call for another appointment. It's almost Darwinian. By the laws of natural selection, a lot of artists eliminate themselves. But Roberto came back. And then, in advance of his third visit, he asked if he could bring a friend. 

The friend was Ryan McGinley. 

Roberto De Luna and Ryan McGinley came to see me at my space on the Upper East Side. They spent the afternoon showing me their pictures and talking about photography. We were all so involved in the conversation that the afternoon segued into the evening; eventually I had pizzas delivered so we could keep talking uninterrupted.  I remember clearly two things from that meeting. One - Ryan showed me a portfolio of prints and I thought "There are at least five pictures here that I want to own."  The collector in me superseded the dealer. There was just so much good work that really grabbed me. Two - at one point we were talking about Larry Clark and his photography. I mentioned that the best assessment of Larry's work I had ever read was a very short piece Vince Aletti wrote for the Village Voice. Ryan reached into his knapsack and pulled out a big thick three-ring binder. He flipped through the pages until he came to the exact article I had been referencing. Ryan didn't know that we were going to be talking about Larry Clark. He just had this binder that he kept for himself, and he happened to have it with him. I was very cognizant that Ryan knew who his antecedents were, and how his own photographs related to theirs.

That was the start.

Excerpted from "Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man"

- by Peter Hay Halpert

Ryan McGinley: The Kids. Early Works features photographs made between 1999 and 2004, the period when I represented him. 

The exhibition is now on view through 27 April. 

Hours are Tuesday & Wednesday, 10 am - 6 pm; 

Thursday, noon - 8 pm; Friday & Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm; and by appointment.

Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art

in collaboration with Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art

Aperture Building, Suite 636

547 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001

(with a dual entrance at 548 West 28th Street)