Getty Center, Los Angeles
October 23, 2012–March 24, 2013
1200 Getty Center Dr. Los Angeles
+1 310 440 7300

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 international fame derives from his prolific body of almost 2,000 editioned, large format black-and-white and color photographs, which have been featured in over 200 solo exhibitions around the world since 1977. Extensively exhibited and widely published, Mapplethorpe's elegant prints representing portraits, nudes, flowers, and erotic and sadomasochistic subjects dominated photography in the late 20th century. Less well known are the over 1,500 Polaroid works that Mapplethorpe produced in the early 1970s before he took up the Hasselblad 500 camera given to him in 1975 by Sam Wagstaff, the visionary curator who became Mapplethorpe's benefactor and mentor. Widely recognized for the role he played in elevating photography to the level of art, Robert Mapplethorpe always considered himself not only a photographer, but an artist.