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Larry Clark

Larry Clark Biography


born Tulsa, OK (USA) 1943

Larry Clark was born in 1943 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a US movie director and photographer. He got his start taking pictures and works mostly with black and white images. After receiving his High School Diploma, Larry Clark spent two years in Vietnam. Some of his more common subjects include youth, especially on the fringes of society. Similar topics would include but not be limited to skateboarding, drug-use, same-sex relationships etc.

After publishing a few books, including the landmark work Tulsa published in 1971, and the adult Teenage Lust, he met a young writer named Harmony Korine in New York. Together they worked on the screenplay for a movie entitled Kids.

Clark has an interest in youth and drug culture, as many interviews with him have explained, as he used to be involved with both. His films often deal with seemingly lurid material but are told in a straightforward manner. His artistry shows through with the moving images as much as with his still ones. Such film directors as Gus Van Sant and Martin Scorsese have, according to Peter Biskind's book "Down and Dirty Pictures," been quoted as finding influence in Clark's early work in photography.

Clark spent a few hours in a police cell after punching and trying to strangle Hamish McAlpine, the head of Metro Tartan, the UK distributor for Ken Park. McAlpine was left with a broken nose. The argument was allegedly about 9/11, which McAlpine allegely claimed was the best thing to have ever happened to America, and violence erupted (according to McAlpine) soon after.

Select Timeline

  • 1971 - Published the book Tulsa
  • 1983 - Published Teenage Lust
  • 1998 - Checked into a rehab center for treatment for heroin and alcohol addiction
  • 2001 - Directed third film "Bully", based on true story of a Florida teenager who murdered his best friend; also had cameo role as the father of one of the teens involved in the murder
  • 2006 - Helmed the feature "Wassup Rockers," about a group of Latino teenagers in South Central Los Angeles

Select Exhibitions

  • 1999 - SWEET & SOUR, Art & Public, Geneva
  • 2000 - USF Collects, University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FL
  • 2001 - Televisions - Kunst sieht fern, Kunsthalle Wien (Halle 1, Halle 2 im MQ), Vienna
  • 2001 - Larry Clark: Outtakes and Additions from the Permanent Collection, MOCA The Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, CA
  • 2002 - Red Light, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, NSW
  • 2002 - Photographs, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2002 - A Thousand Hounds - A Walk with the Dogs through the History of Photography, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL
  • 2002 - Larry Clark - William Eggleston, Galerie Karl Pfefferle, Munich
  • 2003 - A Clear Vision: Photographic Works from the F.C. Gundlach Collection, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg
  • 2003 - Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection, IVAM - Institut Valencia dArt Modern, Valencia
  • 2003 - Larry Clark - punk Picasso, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2004 - Photography from the Book to the Museum, MNAC - Museu Nacional dArt de Catalunya, Barcelona
  • 2004 - 10 Year Anniversary Exhibition, Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo
  • 2004 - Street Credibility, MOCA The Geffen Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2005 - Private Pictures - photography from Arizona collections, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art - SMoCA, Phoenix, AZ
  • 2005 - From the Source, Fashion Photographs, Corkin Shopland Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
  • 2005 - Trials and Terrors, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago - MCA Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • 2005 - Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
  • 2005 - Larry Clark, ICP - International Center of Photography, New York, NY
  • 2005 - Exposed! - Thirty Years of collecting Photography, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY
  • 2005 - Larry Clark - Tulsa 1971, Groninger Museum, Groningen
  • 2006 - Into Me / Out Of Me, Kunst-Werke Berlin e.V. - KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin
  • 2006 - Americans - Masterpieces of American Photography from 1940 until now, Kunsthalle Wien (Halle 1, Halle 2 im MQ), Vienna
  • 2006 - Will Boys Be Boys? - Questioning Adolescent Masculinity in Contemporary Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art - IMA, Indianapolis, IN
  • 2006 - Portraits of Artists, Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, NY

Select filmography

  • Kids - 1995
  • Another Day in Paradise - 1998
  • Bully - 2001
  • Teenage Caveman - 2002
  • Ken Park - 2002
  • Wassup Rockers - 2006
  • Destricted - 2006


  • "I wanted to present the way kids see things, but without all this baggage...You know...they're living in the moment not thinking about anything beyond that and that's what I wanted to catch. And I wanted the viewer to feel like you're there with them -- you can be there fucking, smoking dope, having sex…"
  • "We all took a lot of drugs; my friends got into crime, and I was kind of an outlaw back in that period myself…"


  • Tulsa - 1971
    • Tulsa is a collection of grainy, black and white images taken by Clark in his 20's while hanging out with local teenagers shooting meth-amphetamine, posing with guns, and having sex.
  • Teenage Lust - 1983
    • As America's black angel of pioneering hyper-real photography depicting the sleaze and squalor of the unfettered culture of youth in Teenage Lust, Clark's merciless and grimly poignant books quickly became sought-after

Quick Facts

  • Clark spent nineteen months of the late '70s in maximum security in Oklahoma after various convictions
  • most well known for the movie "Kids"
  • Got into an argument during a dinner with Hamish McAlpine, the British distributor of his upcoming movie Ken Park (2002), over politics. Clark punched him, which prompted McAlpine to pull the movie from the London Festival.
  • His book of photos, Tulsa, inspired several filmmakers and their films: Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish (1983), Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and Shinya Tsukamoto's Bullet Ballet (1998).


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