San Francisco

Larry Sultan

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

The San Fernando Valley, the collection of middle- and upper-middle-class neighborhoods and industrial parks that sprawls along the arid flatlands behind the Hollywood sign, is notorious as an ur-suburb, the location of the Brady Bunch split-level manse and other faux sitcom residences. Yet despite this wholesome association, it has evolved into the capital of porn-video production. In Larry Sultan’s series “The Valley,” 1998–2003, most of which was shot on adult-film locations, the area’s social complexity emerges with remarkable economy. As a group, the fifty-three large-scale chromogenic prints convey a rich quasi narrative rooted in American lifestyle ideals. Sultan, a longtime resident of northern California, grew up in the Valley, which he famously depicted in his 1992 series “Pictures from Home.” For this earlier sequence, he photographed his aging parents in their San Fernando

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2004 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.