This exhibition explores the life, work, and legacy of Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989), presenting the artist’s best-known photographs alongside work that has never been published. The exhibition covers Mapplethorpe’s origins in the downtown New York scene in the 1970s, through his rise to fame as a photographer in the early 1980s, to his centrality in the so-called Culture Wars in 1989, the year of his death. It will draw on the acquisition of The Robert Mapplethorpe Archive by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The exhibition is conceived in two parts to reflect this collaboration and will be presented concurrently at LACMA and the Getty Museum before traveling to two international venues.
Through drawings, collages, sculptures, photographs, and two video works, LACMA’s presentation focuses primarily on Mapplethorpe’s working methods, sources and creative processes—the experimental and performative aspects of his work.
The exhibition is also on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (August 2016–January 2017) and Art Gallery of New South Wales (September–November 2017).
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