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LACMA and the Getty team up for a Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective

Self-Portrait, 1980, Robert Mapplethorpe. Photograph: Courtesy Getty/LACMA


We love when museums come together in Justice League-like fashion, as nearly 60 Southern California institutions did during 2011's Pacific Standard Time. We'd like to think of LACMA and the Getty as the Batman and Superman of that group (we'll let you decide who's who), which makes us thrilled that the two are teaming up for a monumental exhibition next year.

The J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will both be taking part in "Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium." The two museums will run concurrent exhibitions about the late, provocative portrait photographer. The Getty's technical-leaning show (March 15–July 31, 2016) will delve into Mapplethorpe's disciplined studio practice, figure studies and legacy, while LACMA's creative-minded exhibition (March 20–July 31, 2016) will focus on his methods, sources and creative processes.

More than 300 mostly black-and-white portraits, still lifes and nudes will be on display between the two museums—they jointly acquired most of the art and archives from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in 2011, including private correspondence, books and ephemera from the late artist's estate. In addition, LACMA will be featuring 30 complementary works from other artists as part of "Physical: Sex and the Body in the 1980s." 

The exhibition is set to travel to three international venues after its run in LA, as will a Mapplethorpe art book co-published by the two. Sounds like a budding romance to us.