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Los Angeles

LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Exhibition Detail
5905 Wilshire Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036

October 21st, 2012 - March 24th, 2013
October 21st, 2012 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Cedric, N.Y.C., Robert MapplethorpeRobert Mapplethorpe, Cedric, N.Y.C.,
1978, from X Portfolio, gelatin silver print, 7 11/16 x 7 11/16 in., jointly acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The J. Paul Getty Trust; Partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; partial purchase with funds provided by The David Geffen Foundation and The J. Paul Getty Trus
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Mon-Tue,Thu 12-8; Fri 12-9; Sat-Sun 11-8
photography, black-and-white

This exhibition presents the X, Y, and Z Portfolios (published in 1978, 1978, and 1981, respectively) by American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989). Together, the 39 black-and-white photographs summarize Mapplethorpe’s ambitions as a fine-art photographer and contemporary artist, reflecting the tripartite division of his mature work: homosexual sadomasochistic imagery (in X); flower still lifes (Y); and nude portraits of African-American men (Z).

Mapplethorpe’s work has consistently provoked strong reactions. Some have condemned its explicit content, notably during the so-called Culture Wars of the 1980s. Others defend the artist’s right to freedom of expression and admire his mastery of the photographic medium. LACMA’s exhibition offers audiences the opportunity to assess Mapplethorpe’s confrontational photographs—with their paradoxical mix of classicizing, austere form and raw, uninhibited content—through three series that defined not only his artistic career, but also a moment in American cultural politics. The exhibition, together with the Getty Museum’s concurrent In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe, celebrates the landmark joint acquisition, in 2011, of the Robert Mapplethorpe Archive by LACMA, the Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute.

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