Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was among the most influential and controversial visual artists of the late 20th century. In March 2016 the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will share his work in a landmark retrospective exhibition at both museums.
After opening in Los Angeles, Robert Mapplethorpe will go on international tour, traveling to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and a third international venue.
The exhibition features work drawn from the joint Getty/LACMA acquisition of art and archives made in 2011 from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
Curating the exhibition are Paul Martineau, associate curator in the Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs, and Britt Salvesen, curator of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and the Prints and Drawings Department at LACMA. The two complementary presentations are designed to highlight different aspects of the artist’s complex oeuvre.
The exhibition reexamines the arc of Mapplethorpe’s photographic work from its beginnings in the early 1970s to the culture wars of the 1990s, and features his most iconic images of portraits, still lifes, and figure studies alongside less-known photographs. It also explores his fascinating early drawings, collages, sculptures, and Polaroid photography; working materials from his archive; rare color photographs; and seldom-seen video works.
Robert Mapplethorpe will be on view March 15–July 31, 2016, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, and March 20–July 31, 2016, at LACMA.
Also in the Getty’s Center for Photographs during the Mapplethorpe exhibition will be The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs, on view March 15–July 31, 2016.