Catherine Opie at Regen Projects
Catherine Opie is undoubtedly one of the most prolific photographers of her generation, capturing subjects ranging from the marginalized LGBTQ+ community to glamorous Hollywood idols, most notably Elizabeth Taylor. harmony is fraught, her new exhibition at Regen Projects, presents sixty never-seen photographs taken in and around Los Angeles over the course of thirty years, with an emphasis on her work in the 1990s, when Opie was emerging in her career.
At first glance, there appears to be little formal connection to landscape photographs that are grouped with domestic scenes and black and white portraits. However, the installation of the show has been thoughtfully crafted into “constellations,” with each image in dialogue with the next, to tell the story of Opie’s most intimate moments. Through the exhibition, Opie connects the human body, specifically a queer one, to carefully selected images from her extensive body of work.
In addition to a generous invitation to acquaint ourselves deeply with Opie’s inner world, the exhibition offers several important firsts. In harmony is fraught, we are lucky to see the behind-the-scenes video of the making of Opie’s now-iconic photograph Self-Portrait/Cutting (1993) taken with a hand camera. Additionally, Opie uses one of the show’s constellations to honor her late friend, the artist Tony Greene (1955-1990). We see Greene’s studio for the first time in color, after Opie discovered the color negatives in her archive, giving us a vivid glimpse into the late artist’s practice.
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Photo: Catherine Opie, Tony Greene’s Studio, September 12, 1990, 1990/2024, pigment print, 24 ½ x 24 ½ x 1 ½ inches (62.2 x 62.2 x 3.8 cm) © Catherine Opie, Courtesy of Regen Projects, Photo: Evan Bedford