From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Wolfgang Tillmans

At London's Tate Britain

MOST READ ARTS
Spring Awakening

Books

Spring Awakening

Sloane Crosley has her pick of the spring’s best new books.

Bright Lights

Design

Bright Lights

From the worlds of art, food, film, and fashion — seven icons of LA’s creative scene.

Going for Baroque

Music

Going for Baroque

Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society takes the idea of the orchestra all the way back...

Gray jeans draped languidly over a stair post; gen-xers frolicking naked in a tree; supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell with their guard down and actually smiling. This is the world of London-based photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, now 34 and already an eminent artist with a decade's worth of work behind him. His first museum exhibition in the U.K. opens June 7 at the Tate Britain, in London.

Tillmans didn't invent the snapshot-youth culture aesthetic, but he perfected it. His beautifully installed shows in New York and London—of large and small prints, some framed, some just taped to the wall, interspersed with pinned-up magazine spreads—did for ravers, lunchtime still lifes, and uninhibited sex what Nan Goldin in the eighties did for New York artists, bathroom still lifes, and uninhibited sex. His genius, however, is not what he shoots but how he shoots it. His best work turns heads—and keeps them riveted—not because it's lurid or hip but because it effortlessly inhabits multiple worlds: photography, art, fashion, travel, documentary, diary. Tillmans sees, and comments on, everything. He's Oscar Wilde with a backpack and a buzz cut.

Newsletter

Let’s Keep in Touch

Subscribe to our newsletter

You’re no longer on our newsletter list, but you can resubscribe anytime.