A tastemaker and provocateur, Robert Mapplethorpe was one of the great photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. His highly stylized explorations of gender, race, and sexuality became hallmarks of the period and exerted a powerful influence on his contemporaries.
In 2011 the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art jointly acquired art and archival materials by or associated with Robert Mapplethorpe. The vast majority was a generous gift from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and the remainder was purchased with funds provided by the David Geffen Foundation and the Getty Trust. This exhibition and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's concurrent show Robert Mapplethorpe: XYZ celebrate this landmark acquisition.
Mapplethorpe's strong, uncluttered compositions of statuesque male models fused a classical sensibility with homoerotic content at a time when the male nude was not a popular subject among camera artists. In this image, the model's body is taut with compressed energy, his muscled limbs bent in a way that is reminiscent of those seen on ancient Greek figure vases.