Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium

One Artist, Two Museums, Many Interpretations

Robert Mapplethorpe, Poppy, 1988, 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

Robert Mapplethorpe (Poppy, 1988)

He had me at “Some Women” – a hauntingly breathtaking book celebrating female beauty with more than eighty photographs of his friends, fellow artists and celebrities. I bought this to use for a coffee table from a used book store years ago because the images moved me and I also know a few of the women featured in it.

This month, Robert Mapplethorpe will take over Los Angeles, with a major two-part retrospective on view at LACMA  (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and the J. Paul Getty Museum from March 20–July 31, 2016.

The Perfect Medium will present the full scope of the artist’s work, from his earliest collage-based works, through his early Polaroids, to late floral still-lifes and portraits and seldom-seen moving image works. With such rich visual and archival resources on display, visitors will have an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on Mapplethorpe’s legacy, which has been both social and aesthetic.

I love a leather jacket:

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1980, promised gift of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Robert Mapplethorpe  (Self-Portrait, 1980)

He sought what he called “perfection in form” in everything from acts of sexual fetishism to the elegant contours of flower petals.  The exhibition also highlights the artist’s relationship to New York’s sexual and artistic undergrounds, as well as his experimentation with a variety of media.

PERFECTION

Photo #1 Poppy: 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.

Photo # 2 Self Portrait: promised gift of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

 

 

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