Like mine, Dennis’s art grows out of alienation and the theme of frustration in modern life. He always responded to city anxiety, graffiti, and etchings on walls expressing the frustration of urban life.

-Ed Ruscha

Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to present Dennis Hopper: Serigraphs. Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) was initially an abstract painter. Following the extensive 1961 Bel-Air fire which destroyed virtually all of his work, Hopper stopped painting and began his venture into photography, using a Nikon camera given to him for his birthday by his then wife Brooke Hayward. Though he was best known for his acting, screenwriting and directing career, Hopper often invoked his Hollywood surroundings in his photography, a medium with which he remained prolifically and passionately engaged throughout the 1960s. His most memorable images, however, are those he created for and about the burgeoning Los Angeles art scene, in which he was a central character. Later in his career, Hopper used his 1960s photographs as source material for painted murals and editioned works, including the serigraphs in this show, all of which he made with master printer Richard Duardo in 1988.

Hopper’s work responds to the sensibility of a place and time: Los Angeles in the 1960s, where a fresh and unique cultural environment was being formed. His images are both a document and a personal voyage that put the viewer face to face with the tenor of the moment and engage a sense of inclusiveness with the subjects his photographs record. Hopper’s iconic portrait of close friend Andy Warhol holding an iris (repeated in a grid of six), which was the cover of the now historic December 1964 edition of ArtForum, became the source material for a series of serigraphs, four of which are included this exhibition. Also included in this show are serigraphs that reference the darker side of Los Angeles in the 1960s. In one image, for example a picture of a female face is fractured and contorted by the elements of urban reality, while manmade objects are rendered unrecognizable and alien through vandalism. Despite the distortion and destruction illustrated in this work, Hopper manages to create alluring images that engage the viewer, hovering between abstraction and representation.

Dennis Hopper was born in 1936 in Dodge City, Kansas, and died in 2010 in Venice, California. Recent solo exhibitions include “American Pictures 1961–1967,” MAK Center, Los Angeles (2000); “International Traveling Retrospective Exhibition,” Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2001, traveled to Mak Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna); “Dennis Hopper and the New Hollywood,” Australian Centre For The Moving Image, Melbourne (2009); “Double Standard,” The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2010); “L.A. and Friends—Photographs from the 60’s,” Art District, Le Royal Monceau, Paris (2011); “En el camino,” Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain (2013); “The Lost Album,” Royal Academy of Arts, London (2014); and “Part of Being an Artist: The Dennis Hopper Collection, Selected Artwork and Ephemera,” Hugh Hefner Exhibition Hall and Cinematic Arts Gallery, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles (2014). His photographs are included in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Dennis Hopper will be on view at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, 53 E 64th Street, New York, NY, from April 27—June 2, 2018. For images, biography, and further information, please contact the gallery at info@franklinparrasch.com or at 212-246-5360 during business hours: 10a-6p, Tuesday-Saturday.