David LaChapelle’s Land Scape at Paul Kasmin Gallery

David LaChapelle Refinery
Refinery By David LaChapelle (All Event Photos By Gail)

People reading this blog post right now likely fall into one of three categories. The first are folks who are fans of artist/photographer David LaChapelle’s extensive and highly impressive body of work. The second are those who only know his name  because LaChapelle is guilty of having photographed America’s most notoriously repellent “Famous for Being Famous” family, The Kardashians, for their 2013 Christmas Card. And the third group are those who are confusing him with African American comedian Dave Chapelle. Just being serious.

David LaChapelle has taken a break from photographing celebrities for his latest gallery show, Land Scape, for which we attended the opening reception last Friday at Paul Kasmin Gallery. It was quite a scene, absolutely packed wall-to-wall with fans and (not that many) famous people, which presented quite the challenge to get decent photos! Although the only mildly well-known attendees I could identify as I pardoned and excused my way through the throng were (ironically) celebrity photographer Derek Storm and artist Mark Ryden. However, this guy was there:

Viking Hair Guy

I have no idea who he is, but the fact that he sculpted his hair into Viking Helmet Horns made him worthy of being immortalized on digital image, some sources say he used the castor oil for hair growth. Kudos to you, Viking Horn Hair Guy!

But back to the art! Land Scape is made up of two series: Refineries and Gas Stations. The Oil Refineries are constructed as models using ordinary household items and consumer products and then captured in LaChapelle’s highly appealing, hyper-realist style. Photos of the Refineries with accompanying detail shots showing construction materials can be seen below.

Waterfront Refinery

Waterfront Refinery Can Detail
Rockstar Energy Drink Cans, Detail from Above Photo

Refinery with Egg Cartons

Refinery Egg Carton Detail
Egg Cartons and Drink Cups, Detail from Above Photo

Refinery with Measuring Cup

Refinery with Measuring Cup Detail
Measuring Cups and Cell Phones, Detail from Above Photo

That these gorgeous works are meant to encourage conversation about our consumer culture and the loss/ exploitation of our natural resources is, well, quite obvious.

The Gas Station series was shot on location in the Rainforests of Maui, where LaChapelle makes his home.

Shell Station
Shell Station

Chevron Station
Chevron Station

Blue Station
I love the colors on this one.

Each of these massive photos takes up a full wall in one of the gallery’s three rooms, so they really do have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

David LaChapelle’s Land Scape will be on Exhibit Through March 1st, 2014 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located on the corner of Tenth Avenue and 27th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

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