The Photography Gallery at Riley Hall is proud to announce "Remember Me"—an exhibition of photographs by Larry Cook. The exhibition is open now and will run until March 6, 2020.
In "Cool Pose: The Dilemmas of Black Manhood" Richard Majors and Janet Mancini Billson describe the posing and posturing of black men as a tool "to communicate power, toughness, detachment, and style-self - a carefully crafted persona that is key to the negotiation of black urban environments." Larry Cook is interested in how photography encapsulates this persona-specifically within prison and club photography aesthetics. Posing for the camera provides an outlet in which the subject can reclaim agency.
Cook's work explores the cultural aesthetic of "club" and prison photography to examine how urban culture and incarceration systems become entwined through backdrops. The backdrop is central for its relationship to the formal, social, and cultural aspects of photographic history. His work includes found polaroids of subjects posing in front of backdrops to focus on elements of performance, expression, and spectacle. He employs elements of pictorial realism and fantasy to examine the broader questions of status, individualism, and materialism within black culture.
Cook is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Howard University in Washington, DC. He received his MFA from George Washington University. A 2017 Trawick Prize Winner, 2016 Sondheim finalist, and former Hamiltonian Fellow (2013-2015), Cook has been included in various group shows at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Hemphill Fine Arts, Katzen Arts Center, Galerie Myrtis, and Rush Arts Gallery. Cook has also had solo shows at Hamiltonian Gallery, (e)merge art fair, Stamp Gallery and Pleasant Plains Workshop. His video work was screened at the National Gallery of Art as part of the Black Cinema House project.