Massive Robert Mapplethorpe Archive Headed to L.A.


The L.A. County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Trust have completed a joint acquisition of a huge number of works from the Robert Mapplethorpe foundation, the L.A. Times reports:

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.

The archives will be available to scholars at the Getty Museum.