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date: 08 December 2019

Johnson, Larrylocked

(b Long Beach, CA, 1959).
  • Morgan Falconer

Extract

(b Long Beach, CA, 1959).

American photographer. He emerged in the art world in the 1980s, incorporating found texts from popular sources into computer-manipulated photographic images. Untitled (John-John and Bobby) (1998; see D. Raminelli, p. 162), citing the son and brother of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is typical in that each letter is set in a different colour while the whole text lies on a bright pastel ground, reminiscent of billboard advertisement. In 1988 Johnson began to place his own, often urbane, poetic and mannered writing into his images. In a series of computer-generated images of the early 1990s these texts are shown as if erected on signboards and situated in unusual, almost Oriental or comic-book landscapes. Untitled (Ghost Story #1) (1991; see D. Hickey, p. 34) depicts words seemingly falling out of the sky into a snowy landscape. Johnson acknowledged debts to Sherrie Levine and Al Held, yet the tenor of his work suggests that it evolved out of a reaction against the didactic, political, text-based art of the 1980s. His work often suggested satirical attacks on other artists who employed appropriation as a technique, and his reliance on text and humour has led him to be compared to Richard Prince. In the 1990s Johnson began to exhibit photographed drawings and altered animation cells from children’s cartoons. ...

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