David LaChapelle makes Mexican debut


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David LaChapelle, the surrealist photographer, launched his first-ever show in Mexico City last night in a media scrum that resembled one of his chaotic images.

The American photographer, who has made his name photographing celebrities in bizarre settings, was accompanied by Amanda Lepore, the American transsexual icon, during the press conference in Mexico City’s Hotel Geneve.


Lepore wore a gold-trimmed white bathrobe that was open to the waist, which prompted great interest among the photographers in attendance.

LaChapelle’s Mexican debut, called ‘Delirium of Reason (Delirios de Razón),’ will open at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso on Feb. 3 and feature a summary of work the photographer produced between 1995 and 2008.

‘The times we live in right now are extremely confusing and anxiety-causing and people look to contemporary art for enlightenment,’ said LaChapelle last night to the Mexican and international media. He spoke through an interpreter who couldn’t quite keep up, meaning that some of his musings were definitely lost in translation.

Pieta With Courtney Love,’ ‘Jesus Is My Homeboy’ and the celebrity-studded ‘Star System’ are some of the works scheduled to appear in the exhibition, which will run until mid-May.

LaChapelle said he was taking a hiatus on his farm in the United States after walking off the set of a Madonna video he was working on (‘It’s a burden to have to work with these people,’ he huffed). Then he got a call about doing the show in Mexico.

He said that after years working in magazines, he is enjoying the freedom of working in a gallery environment.

LaChapelle, whose uncle is a priest and whose last name means ‘chapel,’ features a lot of religious imagery in his work, which could ruffle feathers within the hugely influential Roman Catholic Church in Mexico.

LaChapelle didn’t seem worried about that. When asked by a member of the press if there was anything in Mexico that he especially wanted to catch with his camera, he answered, ‘charros,’ referring to the traditional cowboy of Mexico.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: American photographer David LaChapelle and transsexual icon Amanda Lepore at the Hotel Geneve in Mexico City last night at the press launch of LaChapelle’s upcoming show, Delirium of Reason. Credit: Deborah Bonello.

For more photos of the press launch, go to Flickr.