Presentation House Gallery
The Polygon Gallery
333 Chesterfield Avenue
North Vancouver, BC V7M 3G9

Larry Clark: Tulsa

PLEASE BE ADVISED that this exhibition contains graphic material of sexual and provocative nature that is NOT suitable for young and sensitive viewers.


Larry’s Clark’s photographs are an incisive portrait of his social scene in Tulsa Oklahoma from 1963 to 1971. First published as a photo essay in the legendary book Tulsa that was conceived as a type of screenplay, the photographs here are displayed in keeping with the book’s layout. The recently unearthed Tulsa film of 1968 highlights Clark’s early interest in cinematic narratives, later developed in his films and collage works. At time posing but usually unaware of the camera, the characters in the Tulsa story are melancholic teenagers who become violent and sad addicts, with several deaths along the way. Shot in natural light using a Leica camera with a silent shutter release that records continuously, Clark’s intimate perspective reveals the shadowy dramas of his subjects: drug injections, young thugs playing with loaded guns, teenage sex. His unflinching view of a previously undocumented drug culture in middle America reveals the uncertainty, innocence, and savagery of adolescence.

Tulsa is acclaimed for its powerful impact as both social documentary and subjective autobiography–a reputation due in no small part to its enduring capacity to shock. Larry Clark is an uncompromising photographer whose striking refusal to moralize allows for an intimacy with his subjects that is only possible from an insider: “I’ve never been a distanced observer, it’s always been autobiographical, I was just one of the people, one of the guys. I happened to have a camera because my parents had this baby-photography business. When I was out with friends, shooting drugs, I would have my equipment with me, because I would be coming from or going to work.” As an embedded witness with refined skills as a photographer, he gave palpable expression to the abject realities of this outsider culture.

Born in 1943, Larry Clark lives and works in New York and Los Angeles. His artwork is included in major museum collections and is exhibited worldwide, most recently in a solo exhibition Kiss the Past Hello at the Musee D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He has produced many feature films; the latest one, Wassup Rockers, will be screened on September 21. Clark continues to experiment with the medium of the book and to focus on looking at contemporary teenage life.

Wednesday, September 21 at 930 pm, doors open at 9pm
The Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway, Vancouver


Clark’s enduring fascination with teenage life and marginal lifestyles has also been the focus of his feature-length films, such as the groundbreaking Kids of 1995. His film of 2005, Wassup Rockers, will be screened in conjunction with the exhibition. This compelling look at a group of skateboarding youths of Guatemalan and Salvadoran descent in South Central Los Angeles as they cope with daily life in a neighbourhood overrun by gang violence is both fact and fiction.

Clark lives and works in New York and Los Angeles. He continues to exhibit his artwork worldwide and to produce feature-length films. His work is included in the collections of major museum collections. Recent exhibitions include: Kiss the Past Hello at Musee D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, and Teenage Lust, New York. The prints for this exhibition are on loan from the Washington Art Consortium Collection: Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle; Museum of Art, Washington State University, Pullman; Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane; Seattle Art Museum; Tacoma Art Museum; Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham; Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham. The Tulsa film is courtesy of Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York.

The Grove Press edition of the Tulsa book is available in the bookstore.


  • Larry Clark, Untitled, 1963, Gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

  • Looking West