Los Angeles to become home to Robert Mapplethorpe work and archive

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As of this summer, Los Angeles will become the leading destination for anyone interested in artist Robert Mapplethorpe, thanks to a joint acquisition just finalized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Trust.

The acquisition includes more than 2,000 works by the artist, “including a print of virtually every photograph he editioned in silver gelatin,” according to the museums. Silver gelatin is the process by which he made his most widely known work, black and white photographs.


It also includes the Mapplethorpe archive, featuring one-of-a-kind silver gelatin prints, thousands of Polaroid studies for his work, personal correspondence to intimates such as Patti Smith, and documentation of the 1990 obscenity trial in Cincinnati that made Mapplethorpe a central figure in that decade’s culture wars.

Scholars will be able to consult the archival material at the Getty Research Institute, and the public can expect big Mapplethorpe shows at both LACMA and the Getty Museum.

The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation gave most of the material as a gift; the remainder comes from funds provided by the David Geffen Foundation and the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Continue reading for more images:

-- Jori Finkel

Top: Untitled (Sam- I Love You and Need you- Hurry Home-), 1974 [Updated 2:40 p.m. An incorrect version of this title appeared in an earlier version of this post.]

Center: Untitled, c. 1971

Bottom: ‘Calla Lily,’ 1988