JIM JOCOY: PHOTOGRAPHS
Queen's Nails Annex is pleased to present the second in a series of exhibitions dedicated to emerging curators. This current project is curated by Audrey Marrs and presents the latest evolution of the practice of Bay Area photographer, Jim Jocoy.
Jim Jocoy has been documenting his unique vision of the contemporary world since the early '70s. His photographs became accessible to a substantial audience for the first time in 2001 with the publication of his book, We're Desperate. We're Desperate is a collection of portraits of members of the West Coast punk scene taken between 1978 - 1980. These photographs, documenting a scene that was based on punk rock music, reveal the essence of the time and place in a way that photos of bands do not. They reveal what was unglamorously glamorous about the scene; they allow us to get inside this fully developed yet insular subculture and relate to its vulnerable and exposed subjects in a real way.
Since his book was published, Jocoy has created a new body of work. He has again extracted a series of portraits from his world. Though he is no longer documenting a specific scene in time, his work again reveals the essence of a particular moment, one less removed. Documenting some of the most famous people in the world, Jocoy's new collection of Polaroid photographs reflects the underpinnings of a body of work created upon a presentation of characters both famous and unknown on the same level. Michael Jackson and Paris Hilton are presented on the same grid of Polaroids as acquaintances of Jocoy's, regular people with regular jobs. The Polaroid format exposes the subjects in an unguarded way; the subjects' equal presentation allows the characters to exist on the same plain. Without setting forth to do so, Jocoy confirms the idiosyncratic evolution of fame as something that has simultaneously become totally exaggerated and increasingly accessible with "regular people" able to become famous by way of reality TV shows, and celebrity more marketable than talent.
Jocoy's perspective, which once was informed by a specific and somewhat isolated scene has expanded to reveal an awareness of a larger context. This is a context in which no attempt is being made to reach definitive conclusions but rather to embrace the ambiguity around celebrity, artistic mediums (where one ends and another begins) and even specific works of art, preferring to look at them as contributions to a constantly evolving cultural body. Jocoy has expressed an interest in making art that inspires art. His early work, inspired by the West Coast punk scene of the late '70s, captured the spirit of the moment more empathetically than most of the documentation of that time. These photographs established Jocoy's style from which he has built subsequent work to date. Both his early and more recent work will inform and inspire work created by members of a punk scene a generation beyond and inspired by Jim's former scene. These endeavors will continue to intertwine and branch out further; this positive chaos that Jocoy has created is what perpetuates cultural growth and evolution.
Jim Jocoy has most recently exhibited in Bay Area Now 2005 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, White Columns New York, G-Spot Gallery Baltimore & Aquarius Records San Francisco.