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_untitled__skaters Self-portrait Untitled Dictation Johan Sho_ka_wah Drainage_tunnel_remio Whiteroom Angel__202008_20_c__20ari_20marcopoulos
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
Ari
Untitled (skaters), Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Untitled (skaters),
c. 1994, Gelatin silver print, 11x14 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
Self-portrait as Egon Schiele, New York, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos,
Self-portrait as Egon Schiele, New York,
1986, Gelatin silver print, 20x16 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
Untitled, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Untitled,
1983, Gelatin silver print, 16x20 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
Dictation, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Dictation,
2007, C-print, 14x11 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
Johan, Gothenberg, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Johan, Gothenberg,
1999, C-print, 14x11 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
SHO KA WA, Sonoma, CA, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, SHO KA WA, Sonoma, CA,
2004, Digital C-print, 48x70 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
Drainage Tunnel, Remio, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Drainage Tunnel, Remio,
2007, C-print, 48x60 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
White Room, Dizin, Iran, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, White Room, Dizin, Iran,
2000, Inkjet print, 30x40 inches
© Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York
Angel, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Angel, 2008
© Courtesy of the artist & Foam - Fotografie Museum
, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos
© Courtesy of the artist and O.H.W.O.W.
, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos
© Courtesy of the artist & Le Confort Moderne
Untitled, Peter SutherlandPeter Sutherland, Untitled, Digital C-print
© 2010 Mountain Fold
Untitled, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Untitled,
Large format photocopy, 130" x 85"
© 2010 Mountain Fold
, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos
© Courtesy of the artist and galerie frank elbaz
, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos
© Courtesy of the Artist and Gallery 16
Mask, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, Mask,
2011, chromogenic color print
© Courtesy of the Artist and Ratio 3
1.1100 (rice paper)  , Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, 1.1100 (rice paper) ,
2012 , pigment print on rice paper, 59" x 43 1/2"
© Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta Gallery
, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos
© Courtesy of the artist and Kavi Gupta Gallery
City Riders     , Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, City Riders ,
2012 , digital video, color, sound , Edition of 5
© Courtesy of the artist & Marlborough Chelsea
, Ari MarcopoulosAri Marcopoulos, 2014, Fanzine for Shit and Die
© the artist
Ari Marcopoulos is a documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work is best known for his anthropological, insider look at snowboarding, skateboarding and hip-hop cultures, Marcopoulos' photographs reflect a casual, self-taught aesthetic.  His work has appeared in The New York Times, Interview, Paper, Blind Spot, and most major snowboarding magazines such as Transworld Snowboarding and Snowboarde...[more]


RackRoom
Interview with Ari Marcopoulos

Sept. 2009 -  ArtSlant's Senior Editor, Andrew Berardini, had a conversation with Ari Marcopoulos about his exhibition Within Arm's Reach at the Berkeley Art Museum (Sept. 23, 2009 - Feb.7, 2010) and other projects.  The following exchange came from that conversation.

I'll be your mirror

Reflect what you are, in case you don't know

I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset

The light on your door to show that you're home

When you think the night has seen your mind

That inside you're twisted and unkind

Let me stand to show that you are blind

Please put down your hands

'Cause I see you

Though Ari Marcopoulos came after the heyday of post-punk, I can’t think of his work without thinking of Nico’s ethereal voice singing “I’ll be your mirror.” In his long and storied 29-year career, Marcopoulos has acted as a special kind of looking glass. Like the song, his work isn’t merely a reflection of his subjects, but rather, aids them to become more truly what they are. Marcopoulos, as an artist and photographer and filmmaker, is as much an actor (performing, moving, effecting changes) within the emergent spaces and scenes that he documents as the subjects that appear in his images. There used to be this myth that a photographer was an objective gaze, an eye separate from that of his or her subjects. But with his activities in the ’80s from the New York underground (where amongst other things he was Warhol’s assistant) to the ’90s where he rode along with frenetic and sometimes self-destructive skateboard kids, up to the present where his camera has turned in towards scenes of family and home, Marcopoulos has never been an impersonal eye, a male gaze, but a fellow traveler, moving with his subjects along the edge of creation and realization.

Whether Basquiat or teenage skaters, Marcopoulos reflects what we are in case we don’t know.

Ari Marcopoulos, Self-portrait as Egon Schiele, New York, 1986, gelatin silver print; 20 x 16 in.; Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York


Andrew Berardini: What do you do?

Ari Marcopoulos: “What don't I do?” is probably easier to answer. I attempt to do all kinds of things, but if we talk strictly about my work, I guess one could say sharing a vision, no matter how clear or cloudy it might be in the end.

AB: Your practice walks the borderland between photo documentary and art? Do you think the two are exclusive? What do you consider yourself first, a photographer or an artist?

AM: I don't think the two are exclusive. Art can be anything. Documentary can be strictly that, but if it is declared art then it is art. These distinctions have vague lines that cross over one into the other.

I consider myself a photographer and filmmaker and an artist.

Ari MarcopoulosDrainage Tunnel, Remio, 2007; C-print; 48 x 60 in.;  Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York


AB: In the same breath, what is the divide between the sometimes commercial work you do and your purely creative practice? How do they overlap, if ever? Or in another sense, do you feel different contexts for your work inform the output: commerce vs. art, magazine vs. gallery vs. museum?

AM:They don’t really overlap for me. Usually there is some kind of objective in the case of magazines or commercial work. As far as magazines there is obviously more freedom but still the fact that you are being asked to photograph something makes it different then doing something from your own impulse. I have taken some portraits for magazines that I consider free from that tainting. In the end, I guess it doesn’t really matter an image is an image. But the whole thing where some people feel that art and commerce overlap to me is really not true.

AB: Much of your work really depends on a rapport or intimacy with your subjects, the video you showed me of the teenage noise band was completely raw and beautiful in its closeness, but cameras usually make people stiffen up. How do you cross the divide, make people comfortable?

AM: Stiffness at times can be good to. But I think most people are comfortable in front of my camera because often they feel my genuine curiosity.

Ari Marcopoulos, Robert Mapplethorpe, New York, 1987; gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in.;  Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York


AB: How would you describe you're aesthetic? Is there any specific notion or set of ideas that guides your practice?

AM: Straight forward, simple. I usually try not to think too much about composition or formal guides. I keep things casual and try to just show what i see from my point of view, not to much fuzzing about looking at things in different angles. Just going with the flow.

AB: Your life has changed dramatically since your early days in and around the underground of New York in the early ’80s? How has time and life changed your approach to working?

AM: I think that probably living in the countryside has opened my eyes to nature. Also not being in a city where you constantly are in touch with people and see people has given me an opportunity to look more inward and really use my own work as a beginning to work from.

Ari Marcopoulos, Hokkaido, 2004; C-print; 31 x 40 in.;  Courtesy of Ari Marcopoulos, Ratio 3, San Francisco, and The Project, New York


AB: What can we expect in your upcoming solo at BAM? What else are you working on these days?

AM: The exhibition at BAM is a survey, so you can expect to see an overview of my practice from the last 29 years from the point of view of the curator. So there is some of the classics and then some older work never shown before and also some brand new stuff.

I am working on 2 new books and a new video.

AB: How do you feel this show will change things for you?

AM: I will be more famous. No, I am kidding. I think that it is an opportunity to look back and ahead at the same time. A survey is really done by the curator so I can see my work in a different context from somebody else’s point of view. Other then that, maybe I am free now to venture into something completely new for me. Like making more videos and perhaps working with other mediums.


ArtSlant would like to thank Ari Marcopoulos for his assistance in making this interview possible.

--Andrew Berardini

FORMER RACKROOMERS

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