" Terry World"

September 10 - October 2, 2004.
Deitch Gallery (212) 343-7300
76 Grand Street, NYC

IS THAT C*M ON YOUR FACE, or am I just happy to see you?
By Troy Tolley

Terry Richardson Terry Richardson

Initial impressions of Terry Richardson’s work might lead you to believe he is just a perverted man with some hard up friends and an Instamatic, but beyond the boobs, cocks, and jizm splatters there is a message and a legitimate collection of art. As deceitfully simple as Terry’s art, his message is: GET OVER IT.

Terry has said that he wishes to push the limits of nudity in mainstream magazines, increasing not only our tolerance levels, but our acceptance levels, and he avoids publications that are purely about sex and getting off. His images may be reminiscent of amateur porn, but there is a plan here; a genuine effort to de-taboo-ize the grossness and messiness of bodies and sexual contact.

Terry doesn’t preach through his images, but instead leaves it up to the viewer to override his or her own hang-ups about sexuality, intimacy, body-image and fluids. His images have the potential to force you, wincing, through the forest of your own sexual anxieties and issues. There is a moment when the viewer finally “groks” it, returning to an adult form of innocence, relieved of the judgments against the originally-intended joy and playfulness of SEX.

Terry Richardson

As one observes the images in Terry’s latest exhibit, “Terry’s World”, (sprinkled with hundreds of Teddy Bears framing Terry’s own face) one can’t help but notice that every single photo, regardless of its content, is exuding a child-like expression of delight, smiles, and laughter. There is no one “being dirty”, no one being “perverted”, and no one being “good or bad”; there is only exploration, touch, exchange, and corny poses. These are adult children, not because they have never grown up, but because they have transcended the confines of a terror we all-too-often disguise as “decency”.

In an age of mythic sexual diseases and epic conservative constraints, Terry is a welcome breeze through our self-imposed prisons.

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