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20110605092112-dlc_angels__saints__and_martyers_1984 20110605092206-dlc_reaching_1984 20110605092016-dlc_angel_1988 20110605092259-dlc_series_of_8_1988 23 Picture_10 Picture_1 _publish_worksimages_loavesandfishes_web1_lg _publish_worksimages_statue_web1_lg
'rak'rüm (noun);
the back room of an art gallery
where artists and art lovers hang
225px-davidlachapelle_2005
Untitled, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Untitled,
c.1984-1988, chromogenic print, 14 x 11 inches 1 of 5, + 3 AP's
© courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art
Untitled, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Untitled,
c.1984-1988, chromogenic print, 20 x 16 inches, 1 of 5, + 3 AP's
© courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art
Untitled, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Untitled,
c.1984-1988, chromogenic print, 24 x 20 inches, 1 of 3, + 2 AP's
© courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art
Untitled, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Untitled,
c.1984-1988, chromogenic prints, each 24 x 20 inches 1 of 3, + 2 AP's
© courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art
Breakfast of Champions, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Breakfast of Champions,
2001 , C-Print, 26 3/4 x 32 5/8 inches
© David LaChapelle
Rape of Africa, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Rape of Africa,
2009, C-Print, variable
(detail) The Rape of Africa, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, (detail) The Rape of Africa,
2009, C-Print
© David LaChapelle
 Loaves and Fishes, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Loaves and Fishes,
2003, C-Print, 62 x 95 inches
© Courtesy of the artist & Wolfgang Roth and Partners Fine Art
Statue, Los Angeles, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Statue, Los Angeles,
2007 , C - Print, 97 x 72 inches
© Courtesy of the artist & Wolfgang Roth and Partners Fine Art
The Crash: Motion Emanates, Los Angeles, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle,
The Crash: Motion Emanates, Los Angeles,
2008 , Cardboard Standee , 304.8 x 243.84 x 50.8 cm
© Courtesy of the artist & WOLFGANG ROTH & PARTNERS, FINE ART
Michael Jackson (Archangel), David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Michael Jackson (Archangel),
2009, C-Print, variable
Beatification , David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Beatification ,
96 x 72 inches 243.8 x 182.9 cm
© Courtesy of the artist & Paul Kasmin Gallery
Cathedral, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Cathedral,
2007, digital c-print, 101,6 x 134,6 cm
© Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Michael Schultz
, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle
© David LaChapelle
Early Fall, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Early Fall,
2008-2011 , C-Print, Edition 3/3, 60 x 39.16 inches (152.4 cm x 99.47 cm)
© Courtesy of the Artist and PRISM
Recollections in America: Double Date, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle,
Recollections in America: Double Date,
2006, C-print, Edition 2/6, 20 x 20 inches (50.8 cm x 50.8 cm)
© Courtesy of the Artist and PRISM
Negative Currency Project: US Dollar , David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle,
Negative Currency Project: US Dollar ,
2008 , 30 x 69 inches (76.2 x 175.26 cm)
© Courtesy of the Artist and PRISM
Cameron Diaz: Dollhouse Disaster, Home Invasion, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle,
Cameron Diaz: Dollhouse Disaster, Home Invasion,
1997, 30 x 40 inches
, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle
© Courtesy of the artist & Fred Torres Collaborations
Still Life: Anonymous Politicians, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle,
Still Life: Anonymous Politicians,
2009-2012, chromogenic print, 72 x 48.76 inches, Edition of 3
© Courtesy of the artist & Paul Kasmin Gallery
Still Life: Ronald Reagan, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Still Life: Ronald Reagan,
2009-2012, chromogenic print, 72 x 66.84 inches, Edition of 3
© Courtesy of the artist & Paul Kasmin Gallery
Híresség tündöklése, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Híresség tündöklése, 2002
© Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Thomas tulajdona, München
The Passion, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, The Passion
© Courtesy of the artist & Robilant + Voena, London
Still Life: Cameron Diaz, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Still Life: Cameron Diaz,
2009-2012, Chromogenic Print (Impression couleur), 183 x 107,5 cm (72 x 42 1/4 in.) / Edition de 3 + 2 E.A.
© Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Daniel Templon
 Amanda Lepore: Addicted to Diamonds, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle,
Amanda Lepore: Addicted to Diamonds,
1998 , Chromgenic print
© Courtesy of the artist & Friedman Benda
Death by Hamburger, 2001, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Death by Hamburger, 2001
 Land Scape Riverside, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Land Scape Riverside,
2013 , chromogenic print , 72 x 93 3/8 inches 182.9 x 237.2 cm Edition of 3 + 2 AP
© Courtesy of the artist & The Paul Kasmin Gallery
Land Scape Kings Dominion, David LaChapelleDavid LaChapelle, Land Scape Kings Dominion,
2013, Chromogenic print + 2 AP, 183 x 244 cm 72 x 96 1/8 in. Edition of 3
© Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie Daniel Templon
David LaChapelle is a photographer and video/commercial/film director who works in the fields of fashion, advertising, and fine art photography, and is noted for his surreal, unique and often humorous style. LaChapelle has four published books of his photographs, including LaChapelle Land, Hotel LaChapelle, Heaven to Hell, and Artists and Prostitutes. All four books contain vivid and surreal portr...[more]


RackRoom
Interview with David LaChapelle

New York, May 2011 – In 2006 David LaChapelle did something he never imagined he would do: say no to Madonna. It was a decision that would trigger a profound and positive change in his life. After that the legendary photographer of celebrities stepped away from the commercial world and moved off the grid to a retreat in Maui with visions of farming. There were more pictures in him, he knew, but he didn’t think galleries and museums were an option.

That changed when his long-time friend and production manager, Fred Torres, got in touch one sunny day with an offer from the Rafael Jablonka Gallery. They didn’t want celebrities; they wanted LaChapelle to do whatever he wanted. Two weeks later LaChapelle was in the Sistine Chapel, looking up at Michelangelo’s Deluge, a work he had always wanted to reinterpret (and did in 2009). Since then LaChapelle has produced a number of impressive pictures that have spent more time on gallery walls than between the covers of a magazine.

Until this May, however, the only people who had seen LaChapelle’s photographs from the eighties were those people who saw them in the eighties. “Early Work” is just that, a sampling of photographs from the first gallery exhibitions LaChapelle had in New York. ArtSlant contributor Charlie Schultz met LaChapelle at Michelman Fine Art to talk about those early photographs, how they connect to what he is doing now, and what it feels like to see them back on gallery walls.

David LaChapelle, Untitled, c.1984-1988, Chromogenic Print, 14 x 11 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art


             

Charlie Schultz: I’m curious, how long has it been since you’ve seen these pictures? Have you had them around you over the years?

David LaChapelle: No. Not at all. They’ve been in boxes. Honestly if it wasn’t for my amazing studio manager, who packaged them all in perfect archival conditions, I probably would have lost them.

CS: What is it like to see them again?

DLC: Wow. I thought it would be horrifying, but I was surprised. When we started pulling them out of the boxes and looking at them all together I thought they weren’t so bad. Some are actually pretty cool. I was doing some really experimental stuff: cutting up negatives, painting on negatives, making tiny little collages out of negatives and scotch tape.

CS: Who are the models? I usually recognize the people in your work, but these people don’t look familiar.

DLC: Some are friends; some are people I became friends with. This is my friend Franco Bruno. He died of AIDS. He was Martin Burgoyne’s boyfriend. Martin was best friends and roommates with Madonna back then. Me and Martin and Frank all worked at Studio 54 together. Let me tell you, it’s a lot more fun to go to clubs than to work at them.

David LaChapelle, Untitled, c.1984-1988, Chromogenic Print, 24 x 20 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art


CS: What was going on around you then that was influencing your work?

DLC: A lot of this stuff was about dealing with mortality because people were dying—friends were dying. My boyfriend Luis died very fast. He was dancing off Broadway, full of energy, and then just a few months later he was dead. So these pictures were all about questioning what happens when we die. Where does that energy go? I thought for many years I was [HIV] positive. I thought I had to be. I was having sex before there was safe sex. I never thought I’d live beyond twenty-four.

CS: Sounds like a very anxious time.

DLC: It was a nightmare. My friends who had AIDS in the hospital didn’t get any treatments. Friends would take care of them, changing their catheters because the doctors were afraid to get near them. Every time I got a bruise I thought it was kaposi. But you still danced. You still went to clubs. And besides, I was the healthiest person in the East Village. I was big time into holistic things. I was brought up macrobiotic. I figured I was better off without all the medicine—the stuff then would kill you too—but when I found out I was negative that was a huge weight off my shoulders. 

CS: When was that? Before or after you made these pictures?

DLC: I don’t know exactly when, dates all kind of blur, but it was definitely after I made these photographs. It was the early nineties, maybe like '92, around when I started working for Detail [Magazine].

David LaChapelle, Untitled, c.1984-1988, Chromogenic Print, 24 x 20 inches each;  Courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art


CS: It’s interesting to me that you came to your commercial career though an earlier artistic effort, and after almost two decades of successful commercial work, you’ve come back to producing art. Is there is big distinction between the two forms or platforms for you?

DLC: There is a big difference for me, because one is born out of my ideas and there is no one telling me what to do. I always thought when Tony Shafrazi, my dealer, would show the celebrity portraits it was more of a novelty thing. I didn’t take it too seriously. I figured people were just coming to see Britney [Spears] and Pam [Anderson].


David LaChapelle, Untitled, c.1984-1988, Chromogenic Print, 20 x 16 inches;  Courtesy of the artist and Michelman Fine Art


CS: Does your commercial work influence your artwork, or vice versa?

DLC: Yes, absolutely. I want to be true to myself and for me that means using everything I learned working for magazines. I don’t believe it was a twenty-year detour or anything. That work taught me how to communicate, how to get people’s attention. It was like twenty years of schooling. I think much more is expected of a picture hanging on a wall in a gallery or museum than what is expected in a magazine.

CS: Speaking of which, you are doing an installation at the Lever House in June that will be up at the same time as these pictures. Can you make a connection between the two exhibitions?

DLC: A big connection. I’m glad that this show is here because it really lets people see where the work at the Lever House is coming from. The last show I did for a gallery in New York City was in '91 and no one even saw it. I sort of re-envisioned that show, plus I added two new components, for the Lever House. It’s basically a lot of installation and collage, which pretty obviously has roots in these early works.


ArtSlant would like to thank David LaChapelle and Michelman Fine Art for his assistance in making this interview possible.

--Charlie Schultz

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