To be honest, the photographic career of Dennis Hopper had hitherto completely passed us by. We knew him as the poppers-huffing* lunatic of Blue Velvet, the bomb-planting lunatic of Speed, and, yes, the camera-wielding lunatic of Apocalypse Now, but we thought he was just acting in all three cases. Little did we know that the silver screen madman really did have some chops behind the lens, as this exhibition of his work, not seen in the US since 1970, attests to.
Taken in the 1960s as Hopper was fuelling up for take-off on his upward trip to cult stardom, Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album features a cast of characters from the actor’s life (including Neil Young and a telephone box in the desert) as well as evocative scenes of Americana which call to mind the spirit of Kerouac’s On The Road from a few years earlier. Showing at the Gagosian Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York, from 7th May 7 to 22nd June.
* Readers shouting at the screen that the mask was delivering oxygen, helium or nitrous oxide to Frank Booth can go and sit in the corner with their hands on their heads. We do our research! Argumentative types can leave their counter-claims in the comments section below. Go nuts!