The Los Angeles County Museum of Art opens its retrospective exhibition of the late Robert Mapplethorpe’s work this month, under the title The Perfect Medium.

March 20, 2016–July 31, 2016
LACMA, BCAM, Level 2, Los Angeles

Robert Mapplethorpe’s practice as an artist was characterized by inherent dualities. He sought what he called “perfection in form” in everything from acts of sexual fetishism to the elegant contours of flower petals. Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium explores Mapplethorpe’s body of work through early drawings, collages, sculptures, and Polaroid photography; materials from his archive; portraits, still lifes, and figure studies; rare color photographs; and two seldom-seen moving image works. The exhibition also highlights the artist’s relationship to New York’s sexual and artistic undergrounds, as well as his experimentation with a variety of media.

Robert Mapplethorpe, White Gauze, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, White Gauze, 1984.

Also on view, the exhibition Physical: Sex and the Body in the 1980s presents a focused installation of work by other artists drawn from LACMA’s permanent collection that helps place Mapplethorpe in conversation with the art of the 1980s.

The J. Paul Getty Museum is presenting a companion exhibition exploring Mapplethorpe’s disciplined studio practice and his fascination with classical form and the fine photographic print.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Marianne Faithfull, 1976.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Marianne Faithfull, 1976.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken Moody and Robert Sherman, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken Moody and Robert Sherman, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Paris Fashion / Dovanna, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Paris Fashion / Dovanna, 1984.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, 1986.
Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, 1986.