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In A New Body Of Work, Catherine Opie Envisions The Modernist Homes of Los Angeles Turned To Ashes

Posted by on January 23, 2018 | Photographer Interviews

Catherine Opie is a chronicler of life. She captures portraits and landscapes that tell the story of what it means to be an American in the 21st century. Her subjects range from members of the LGBTQ community, to high school athletes, to the objects that filled the home of film icon Elizabeth Taylor’s Los Angeles mansion.

In The Modernist, an exhibition of photographs and a film composed of still images currently open at Regen Projects in Los Angeles, Opie cast longtime muse and collaborator Stosh Fila — also known as Pig Pen — in the role of an artist consumed with burning down some of the most important modernist homes in Los Angeles. The work speaks to the real danger posed to such homes by the wildfires that have recently raged across Southern California, as well as undercurrents of political angst.

In an interview in Aperture with the writer Maggie Nelson, Opie stated that the work also relates to her youth, and to, she says, “the generation of tomboys I belong to,” where girls set fire to things “because that’s what boys did.” And, she adds:“There’s this interesting, odd thing, because arsonists aren’t really equated with women as much.”

Below is a selection of images from the exhibition, which closes on February 17, 2018. All images © Catherine Opie, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

Sheats-Goldstein #4 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment print 30 x 45 inches (76.2 x 114.3 cm)

Model fire #1 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment print 40 x 26 5/8 inches (101.6 x 67.6 cm)

Chemosphere #3 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment print 40 x 26 5/8 inches (101.6 x 67.6 cm)

Sheats-Goldstein #1 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment print 40 x 26 5/8 inches (101.6 x 67.6 cm) CO 5231

Sheats-Goldstein #2 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment print 40 x 26 5/8 inches (101.6 x 67.6 cm)

Artist #1 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment print 40 x 26 5/8 inches (101.6 x 67.6 cm)

Artist #4 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment Print 40 x 26 3/4 inches (101.6 x 67.9 cm)

Mural Study #2 (The Modernist) 2016 Pigment Print 20 1/4 x 16 1/4 inches (51.4 x 41.3 cm)

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