Since the early 2000s, Ryan McGinley has constructed a body of work picturing his adolescent friends and others involved in the skateboarding scene on New York’s Lower East Side. He developed a working relationship with magazines including i-D, Vice and Butt, and was mentored by photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark, whom he met in 1991.
McGinley’s BMX 2000 is presented from the point of view of a male rider looking through the handlebars of his bike to his feet and the asphalt below. Sporting a tattoo and outfitted in ubiquitous symbols of cool — blue jeans and black Converse sneakers — the rider offers the viewer a space to imagine themselves into the picture. The framing of the image recalls the aesthetic of skateboarding magazines and urban subcultural street press. Paring back surplus visual information, McGinley deftly casts viewers into what, for some, is familiar territory and full of associations. The image evokes the experience of riding bikes designed for speed, for showing off, for taking risks and exercising freedom.