About: Paul Martineau

I am associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. I received my B.A. in art from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and my M.A. in art history from Williams College. Before joining the Getty Museum in 2003, I worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. I have organized numerous exhibitions at the Getty, covering a diverse range of topics that span the mid-19th century to the 21st century, including In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe. I am currently working on an exhibition of the photographs of Minor White; my next book, The Nude in Photography, will be released in December 2013.

Posts by Paul

Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Photographs, Film, and Video

Day Without Art: Robert Mapplethorpe and His Artistic Shift

Self-Portrait / Robert Mapplethorpe
Self-Portrait, 1988, Robert Mapplethorpe. Platinum print, 23 1/8 x 19 in. Jointly acquired by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

December 1, 2012, marks the 24th year that museums and other art organizations have observed Day With(out) Art in order to raise awareness about the AIDS epidemic. Although medical advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS have improved the lives of… More»

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Posted in Art, Exhibitions and Installations, Photographs, Film, and Video

Curators Talk Mapplethorpe at the Getty and LACMA

Self-Portrait, 1980 / Robert Mapplethorpe
Self-Portrait, negative, 1980; print, 1990, Robert Mapplethorpe. Gelatin silver print, 14 x 14 in. Jointly acquired by The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by The J. Paul Getty Trust and The David Geffen Foundation. 2011.9.21. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Last year the Getty and LACMA jointly acquired the art and archives of Robert Mapplethorpe, including more than 2,000 works of art as well extensive documentation of this important artist’s celebrated career and working methods. Now both museums are presenting… More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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