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Wild boys : primitivism and male youth in Larry Clark's photography and films


Wild boys : primitivism and male youth in Larry Clark's photography and films

Chan, Zoë (2008) Wild boys : primitivism and male youth in Larry Clark's photography and films. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis examines representations of young males in the photographs and films of the American artist and film-maker, Larry Clark (b. 1943). Known for his graphic and eroticising depictions of mostly delinquent young males often participating in acts of drug use, sex, or violence, Clark's vision of male youth shares many parallels with primitivism. The author argues that primitivism can be articulated not only in Western perspectives of the ethnic "other," but also in its representations of youth in contemporary art, cinema, and visual culture. The thesis identifies some of the major semantic and ideological tropes to which primitivism subscribes, with an emphasis on its nineteenth-and twentieth-century articulations, particularly within the fields of ethnography and Modernist avant-garde art. Through the examination of his representations of subculture, gender, and sexuality in such seminal works as Tulsa (c. 1971) and Kids (1995), we discover how Clark equates male youth with expressions of authenticity and anti-establishment transgression. Moreover, Clark's focus on marginal and delinquent youth groups helps him strategically situate himself as an artist outsider, a coveted position in western art history. Finally, the thesis explores how Clark's style and subject matter has been appropriated and absorbed into the fields of art, film, fashion, and advertising. It concludes that Clark's oeuvre has ultimately contributed to the construction and consolidation of a primitivising iconography and aesthetics of marginal and/or debauched male youth.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Chan, Zoë
Pagination:x, 169 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Thesis Supervisor(s):Sloan, Johanne
ID Code:976096
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:19
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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