Getty Museum and LACMA Plan Joint Retrospective of Mapplethorpe

  • LOS ANGELES, California
  • /
  • April 02, 2015

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Self-Portrait, negative 1980; print 2008. Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946 - 1989). Gelatin silver print. 13 3/4 x 13 3/4 in. Promised Gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art L.2012.88.378. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

The J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced Thrusday a major joint retrospective exhibition of the work of artist Robert Mapplethorpe, opening at both venues in March 2016.

Following its Los Angeles debut, Robert Mapplethorpe will go on an international tour, traveling to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada (8/29/16-1/22/17), the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and another international venue. The Getty and LACMA will be the exhibition’s sole U.S. venue.


Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946–1989) is among the most influential visual artists of the late twentieth century. The exhibition reexamines the arc of his photographic work from its humble beginnings in the early 1970s to the culture wars of the 1990s, and includes both his most iconic images and his lesser known photographs. It also explores the artist’s body of work through early drawings, collages, sculptures, and Polaroid photography; working materials from his archive; portraits, still lifes, and figure studies; rare color photographs; and seldom-seen video works.

Two complementary presentations are designed to highlight different aspects of the artist's complex oeuvre. The exhibition is drawn from the landmark joint Getty/LACMA acquisition of the artist’s art and archives in 2011, made possible by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation’s generous gift and a joint purchase by the Getty/LACMA. Curators of the exhibition are Paul Martineau, associate curator of photographs in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Department of Photographs, and Britt Salvesen, curator of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and the Prints and Drawings Department at LACMA.

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