Robert Mapplethorpe’s practice as an artist was characterized by inherent dualities. He sought what he called “perfection in form” in everything from acts of sexual fetishism to the elegant contours of flower petals. Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium explores Mapplethorpe's body of work through early drawings, collages, sculptures, and Polaroid photography; materials from his archive; portraits, still lifes, and figure studies; rare color photographs; and two seldom-seen moving image works. 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.
Also on view, the exhibition Physical: Sex and the Body in the 1980s presents a focused installation of work by other artists drawn from LACMA’s permanent collection that helps place Mapplethorpe in conversation with the art of the 1980s.
The J. Paul Getty Museum is presenting a companion exhibition exploring Mapplethorpe's disciplined studio practice and his fascination with classical form and the fine photographic print.
This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Support for the exhibition and its international tour has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Additional support is provided by the Brotman Foundation of California and the Wallis Annenberg Director's Endowment Fund.
All exhibitions at LACMA are underwritten by the LACMA Exhibition Fund. Major annual support is provided by Kitzia and Richard Goodman, with generous annual funding from Janet Chann and Michael Irwin in memory of George Chann, Louise and Brad Edgerton, Edgerton Foundation, Emily and Teddy Greenspan, Jenna and Jason Grosfeld, Lenore and Richard Wayne, and The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation.
Image: Robert Mapplethorpe, Poppy, 1988, jointly acquired by the J. Paul Getty Trust at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, partial gift of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, partial purchase with funds provided by the David Geffen Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Trust, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation