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Gavin Brown's Enterprise at Passerby
436 West 15th Street, 212-206-7321
July 11 - September 15, 2007
Reception: Wednesday, July 11, 6 - 8 PM

“If you don’t know Patrick McMullan you ought to get out more!” —Andy Warhol, The Andy Warhol Diaries

Today, everyone gets out more. Getting out is what we do. And in this little village called New York Patrick McMullan is there to confirm that last night did actually happen. That we do actually exist. He casts his unflinching eye wherever he goes. And he goes everywhere.

There was a time-not so long ago-when a society or nightlife photographer was an instrument of documentation. He was the jobbing happy snapper, and sometimes-as in the case of Weegee or Brassa├»-his documents became art. Then Patrick McMullan came and broke the mold. He turned the art of nightlife photography into a branded industry, one that fed the insatiable maw of endlessly proliferating magazines, and websites, and publicists flogging store parties. He does not simply chronicle this culture but shapes it. His genius is not to be found in just one picture, but in their endless accumulation, their ceaseless minting of more and more boldfaced names. Who cares if we’re not sure why they’re famous? Today’s fifteen minutes are measured in seconds, and Patrick McMullan-or one of his agents-is there to make sure you enjoy a few.

But, even if you don’t know Patrick McMullan you MUST know It knows you, and if it doesn’t know you, you don’t exist. There you are, snapped in a line-up of tycoons, and fashionistas, and erstwhile celebrities, but the caption below your face reads, “Who am I?” is a multifaceted mirror with a million planes. It reflects all of us at the same time, all the time. It is omnipresent and all-seeing. It sees a thousand faces every night. Night after night after night. Without it, we really might not exist. There might be no record of the best times of our lives—or the worst. Either way, you’ll likely be smiling.
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