Yancey Richardson is proud to present Jared Bark: Public/Private, a focused selection of his celebrated photobooth assemblages created between 1971 and 1974. The works in this exhibition highlight Bark’s use of popular culture imagery sourced from magazines, posters and television sets, occupying a unique position between photography, performance and appropriation.
Bark’s earliest photobooth pieces were created in 1969 throughout Times Square where he viewed the booths as a “marginal public/private space”, functioning as both theater and image-making apparatus. He found the inherent structure and built-in constraints of the photobooth liberating, likening them to a gate where anything could pass through, regardless of the visual outcome. Given the limitations of the format, Bark achieved a remarkable array of images, from performative work using his own body to minimalist abstraction.
In the following year, Bark continued experimenting with various methods and choreographies in public photobooths, leading him to a series of compositions in which pages from wrestling, pornography and muscle magazines, along with pin-up posters and subway maps, were held in front of the camera and photographed in quick succession. His hands can be seen holding up the pages and often the focus shifts from the printed images in the foreground to glimpses of his patterned shirt in the background, posing a question as to the true subject matter of the image.
After acquiring his own photobooth in 1973, and having the freedom to explore a wider variety of materials, Bark began photographing the screen of his own television set during live broadcasts of sports games, movies and local news. The results are playfully Muybridgean compositions of figures in motion, yet elusive and arbitrary, perfectly suited to Bark’s sense of humor and appetite for discovery.
Born in 1944, Jared Bark received his BA from Stanford University in 1966. A fixture of New York’s iconic downtown scene, he was featured early in his career in Harold Szeeman's 1969 seminal exhibition, When Attitudes Become Form, at the Kunsthalle Bern, and the legendary Brooklyn Bridge Event in 1971, organized by Alanna Heiss. His work has been exhibited widely and is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Guggenheim, Centre Pompidou, Paris; National Gallery, London; National Gallery, Washington D.C.; Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Bark’s monograph Photobooth Pieces, was published by Hunter’s Point Press in 2016.