Currently on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, through August 26, 2012, Herb Ritts: L.A. Style explores Ritts’s extensive photographic career, including a selection of renowned and previously unpublished photographs, as well as his directorial projects. A major portion of the works in the exhibition was newly acquired by the Getty Museum through purchase and in the form of a generous gift from the Herb Ritts Foundation.
“Through hard work and an imaginative vision, Herb Ritts fashioned himself into one of the top photographers to emerge from the 1980s,” says Paul Martineau, curator of the exhibition and associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “This exhibition will reconsider and broaden our understanding of Ritts’s career, particularly in the areas of fashion and figure studies.”
Herb Ritts was a Los Angeles-based photographer who established an international reputation for his striking and innovative images of fashion models, nudes, and celebrities. Largely self-taught, Ritts developed his own style, one that often made use of the California light and landscape and helped to separate his work from his New York-based peers. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ritts was sought out by the leading fashion designers of the time, including, Armani, Gianfranco Ferrè, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Valentino, and Versace, as well as magazine editors from GQ, Interview, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair to lend glamour to their products and layouts.
At the height of his fame, Ritts ushered in the era of the “super model” with his unforgettable portraits of Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford, among others, which magnificently depict feminine strength and beauty. It became a rite of passage for celebrities to be photographed by Ritts, and virtually all of the big names of the day posed for him, including Madonna, Elton John, Richard Gere, John Travolta, Tina Turner, David Bowie, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson, Sinead O’Connor, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
From the late 1970s until his untimely death from AIDS in 2002, Ritts’s ability to create photographs that successfully bridged the gap between art and commerce was not only a testament to the power of his imagination and technical skill, but also marked the synergistic union between art, popular culture, and business that followed in the wake of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Following its showing at the Getty, the exhibition will be on view at the Cincinnati Art museum from October 6 to December 30, 2012 and at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Florida from March 1 to June 2, 2013.
About The Herb Ritts Foundation: The Herb Ritts Foundation was established under directives set forth by the artist. The charitable purposes reflect Herb Ritts’s beliefs and commitments during his lifetime. The Foundation offers support to organizations, which reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS and provide awareness, assistance and care for those affected by HIV/AIDS. The Foundation also promotes Mr. Ritts’s great passion for photography through offering assistance to institutions and educational programs that advance the art of photography.
Visiting the Getty Center:
The Getty Center is open Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is closed Monday and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Center is always free. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 5 p.m. on Saturdays and for evening events throughout the week. No reservation is required for parking or general admission. Reservations are required for event seating and groups of 15 or more. Please call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish) for reservations and information. The TTY line for callers who are deaf or hearing impaired is (310) 440-7305. The Getty Center is at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, California.
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