Friday, June 1, 2012

"L.A. Style - Herb Ritts"

L.A. Style by Herb Ritts at the Getty Museum LA, 2012.
Herb Ritts is a master of the black and white photo. So when I heard about the exhibit, L.A. Style at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, I was excited to see the show. What I discovered was crisp lines, undulating curves, breathtaking contrast, sensual forms, and an overall inviting visual delight - all that even before I saw the first photograph.

The exhibit is at the spectacular J. Paul Getty Museum, designed by Richard Meier, is in itself a masterpiece, nestled in the hills between downtown Los Angeles and Malibu. Riding the tram from the parking structure to the museum campus only builds the anticipation, as it twists and turns through lush landscaping, clinging elegantly to the side of a hill, delivering the bedazzled museum visitor to the main plaza.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
Mr. Getty came from big oil money, and is often credited with being among the first American billionaires. Luckily for the art community, he had a passion for art, and upon his death, created one of the largest and best funded art foundations in the world.

The campus is a complex of well thought out buildings, exhibition spaces, public squares, gardens, fountains and vistas.
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
There are a number of wings of the museum dedicated to various periods of art, as well as educational facilities, restaurants and cafes.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
The main garden was closed during my visit to be remodeled, but it was scheduled to reopen on May 27, 2012 - so I advise allowing plenty of time for your visit to explore the grounds and the exhibits.

(At 5.30 my date and I were asked to kindly board the tram back to the parking garage, as I was considering never leaving.)

After an extensive exploration of the architecture, I finally made it into the featured exhibit, a striking collection of black and white prints epitomizing the undeniable L.A. Style.

Ritts is perhaps best known as a celebrity photographer, having shot numerous musicians and actors for album and magazine covers.
Madonna by Herb Ritts.

Ritts is also heralded as an photographic master for his stark homo-erotic photographs of men rendered in classic Greek and Roman poses. He helped elevate the male physique to artistic status, before his untimely death from AIDS in 2002 at the young age of 50.
Fred with Tires by Herb Ritts.
For me what is most impressive with this collection of photographs in particular, shot in the 1980's and 1990's, is that the perfect composition, stunning contrast, and sharp resolution was all achieved before the introduction and widespread use of digital media and Photoshop. In other words, these images were taken the old fashioned way, on film, and printed by hand in a darkroom.

The collection of photographs on hand range from the classically beautiful to the sexually charged, with many oft the images being instantly familiar, iconic even.

It is an exhibit well worth seeing: beautiful artwork in a beautiful setting. Art lovers and tourists alike all seemed mesmerized by the experience.

My date, Michael James, embodying the true spirit of L.A. Style at the Getty Museum, LA, 2012.

The exhibit L.A. Style is on view at the Getty Museum through the end of August 2012.

For more info visit:
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

1 comment:

  1. Talk about beauty that Michael James exudes it with every fiber of that sexy body!