Brian Finke's "Hip Hop Honeys no. 5," 2013
Brian Finke's "Football no. 16," 2002
Brian Finke's "Hip Hop Honeys no. 45," 2013
Brian Finke's "U.S. Marshals, Baltimore no. 2," 2014
Brian Finke's "Frat Boys no. 1," 2005
Brian Finke's "BackyardFights," 2016
Brian Finke's "Ms. Senior America," 2016
Brian Finke's "Cheerleading no. 81," 2002
Brian Finke's "John McAfee," 2012
One of the most powerful and visceral exhibitions you’ll see this spring is also a homecoming — for lensman Brian Finke. And it’s at Dallas gallerist, Kirk Hopper Fine Art, which has made a name for itself for exhibitions for iconoclastic talents from James Magee to Emmi Whitehorse and Don Redman.
Once again, Kirk Hopper taps art historian Susie Kalil to curate — she’s known for her seminal books on Texas artists Alexander Hogue, Roger Winter, and above all, color field/surrealist great Dorothy Hood.
Raised in Houston, with family now outside Fort Worth, Finke, a School of the Visual Arts (NYC) grad, has been documenting the American scene and its tantalizing subsets — cheerleaders, flight attendants, gridiron athletes, hip hop honeys, U.S. Marshals, backyard gladiators, construction works, and Ms. Senior America pageant contestants — for more than two decades.
Now Brooklyn-based, Finke’s breakout book, 126.96.36.199: American Cheerleaders & Football Players, set him on the path to notoriety; it was anointed one of the best photography books of 2003 by American Photo magazine.
Five volumes later, with a new 2022 release, Backyard Fights, the artist is in the lens at Kirk Hopper Fine Art. Art historian and author Kalil curates “Brian Finke: American Pictures,” a survey that also marks Finke’s Dallas debut.
“Brian Finke’s photographs have a particular slant on what makes America tick,” Susie Kalil tells PaperCity. “All of his images seem to thrive on mixed messages, intimacies, and lots of provocative attitude. As witness to an increasingly complex media culture, Finke is fearless in his exploration of identity.”
While these images are often deeply disturbing — late tech pioneer John McAfee brandishing a gun to his head; a young, shirtless man bloodied in a brawl; a frat house trio engaged in drunken hazing — there are also intimate, unexpected moments such as a hip-pop performer, eyes closed, engaged in silent introspection.
As such, Finke positions himself in the photographic terrain between Larry Clark of Tulsa renown and Bill Owens, the chronicle of Suburbia.
At Kirk Hopper Fine Art, through this Saturday, March 26. More info here.