Los Angeles

Patrick Lee

Western Project

Albrecht Dürer would have seen a reason for drawing, meticulously, the subjects of Patrick Lee’s “Deadly Friends.” The men in Lee’s pictures look like they understand, firsthand, that looks can kill, or at least inflict a serious bruising. Drifters, outlaws, parolees, gangbangers; guys with thick necks, shaved heads, and broad chests, parts emblazoned with tattoos (“Fuck All Haters”; “Trust No Bitches”; “Bad Influences”), the warnings and braggadocio of member status, make up this forbidding posse. Although Lee has photographed hundreds of men, met on the streets of Los Angeles, over the course of a decade, a frieze of ten of these portraits, Deadly Friends 2006, demonstrates not only the actual elements of masculine style and physicality that trigger Lee’s attention but also the difference between the artist’s uses of the photographic—its indexicality as well as its constructedness (clear

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