Los Angeles

Larry Johnson

Patrick Painter, Inc

It’s hard to see. White sans-serif type on white glossy field, the text of Larry Johnson’s Untitled (The Thinking Man’s Judy Garland) (all works 1999–2000)—“the / thinking / man’s / judy / garland”—almost fades from sight altogether. As white-on-white sheen, a photographic component, the words disappear unless you stand right in front of the thing itself. More than just an effect of the white text being not on but of the white surface (it is a photograph after all), the disappearance points to the obsolescence of Judy; of thinking (especially thinking about Judy); of photography; of garlands; certainly of modernist purity (i.e., whiteness); of the LA and Hollywood studio system that helped invent Judy and that she helped invent—her movies’ “real” subject was always Judy, or, not to put too semiological a point on it, /Judy/, considered as a signifier bracketed off from her signified “

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