Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Getty Museum Presents 100 Years Of Fashion Photography Through Oct.21

Photos by Karen Ostlund

The exhibition explores a varied history through more than 180 photographs, costumes and drawings.
Paul Martineau

 Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011 is on view today June 26 to October 21, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Paul Martineau, associate curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. A book of the exhibit by Paul Martineau is released by Getty Publications this summer 2018.

 “My hope is that this sweeping introduction to fashion photography will not only educate and delight our visitors, but also inspire new scholarly inquiry,” said Martineau. “Long overlooked, the gradual integration of fashion photographs into museum collections will make it easier for these pictures to be evaluated in terms of the larger history of the medium of photography.”
George Hurrell photo of Gloria Swanson

LOS ANGELES – At their core, fashion photographs are made for consumption in magazines and advertising. They are intended to arouse desire in viewers, whether it be for beauty, style, or even the trendiest lip shade or haircut. To capture attention, fashion photographs perpetually shift style or approach in the face of social, political, and economic change. Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011, on view June 26-October 21, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, is the most comprehensive exploration of this phenomenon yet undertaken, featuring more than 160 fashion photographs alongside a selection of costumes, illustrations, magazine covers, videos and advertisements. Drawn from the Getty Museum’s photographs collection as well as significant loans, the exhibition presents the work of more than eighty photographers, illuminating the innovative aesthetic and technological changes in the field.
Richard Avalon 1965
  “Once overlooked by collectors and museums because of its commercial origins, fashion photography is now recognized as having produced some of the most creative work of the twentieth century, transcending its illustrative function to yield images of great artistic quality and sophistication,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Museums, however, have been slow to embrace this genre. The time seems ripe to present a sweeping overview of the finest examples of fashion photography produced over the past century.”
Helmut Newton
 The exhibition features the work of such renowned fashion photographers as Richard Avedon, Lillian Bassman, Guy Bourdin, Erwin Blumenfeld, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Hiro, Inez & Vinoodh, Peter Lindbergh, Man Ray, Helmut Newton, Nick Knight, Gordon Parks, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Edward Steichen, and Tim Walker as well as lesser-known but influential artists such as Corinne Day, Gleb Derujinsky, Toni Frissell, and Kourken Pakchanian.
The Mask 2010 by Mart & Marcus
  “In 2010, we began working to strengthen the Museum’s collection of fashion photographs in the hopes of creating a foundation on which we could build a groundbreaking exhibition,” says Paul Martineau, associate curator of photographs at the Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition. “I continue to be intrigued by the ability of some fashion photographs to transcend their original commercial function in order to be considered true works of fine art.”
Grace Kelly in LIFE 1955
  The exhibition opens with a key moment in the emergence of modern fashion photography when, in 1911, French publisher Lucien Vogel challenged photographer Edward Steichen to create the first artistic fashion photographs. Before then, photographs were often too realistic to attract a public familiar with the highly idealized images popularized by illustrators such as Erté and Paul Iribe. During the first two decades of the twentieth century there was a considerable shift in women’s fashion, moving away from tightly corseted dresses to the more comfortable, natural, looser fitting clothing of innovators such as Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel. On view will be early photographs by Steichen and Baron Adolf de Meyer, two artists who were responsible for creating the foundations of modern fashion photography at the behest of Vogue magazine mogul Condé Nast.

          Photographs produced during the Great Depression and World War II reveal how political and economic changes influenced the fashion industry. During the Depression, top style magazines continued to emphasize luxury and glamour, offering an escape from the harsh realities of the period. During World War II, fashion magazines tried to remain relevant by adopting a positive, can-do approach to life. In step with war-time rationing, fashion became simpler and used less fabric, and photographers adopted a more restrained approach. The exhibition includes several examples of “patriotic chic,” a style of dress or representation that underscored national values. Keep the Home Fires Burning (1941) by Louise Dahl-Wolfe features a model in a simple slip turned away from the camera and staring into the fireplace, apparently waiting for her husband to return from the war.
Cecil Beaton
  The 1950s marked what many consider to be the Golden Age of fashion photography, with a return to glamour through designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, and Jacques Griffe. Richard Avedon and Irving Penn brought the elegant dresses of these designers to life with different but equally visually arresting approaches to their work. Penn dominated studio-based fashion photography while Avedon excelled at showing models on location and in action. Paired with bold visual treatments in magazines, work by these and other artists delivered fashion photography to an aspirational public emerging from decades of war and hardship.
William Claxton photo 1964
 The 1960s and 70s were a time when youth culture, the sexual revolution, and later the women’s liberation movement, were catalysts for new possibilities in fashion photography. William Klein photographed his models in urban settings using a 35mm camera, perfecting a gritty street style that was celebrated for its surprising vitality. Leading designers of the mid-1960s ushered in a variety of fanciful new looks such as hippie, mod, gypsy, and space age. Neal Barr’s 1966 photograph of Dianne Newman captures the zeitgeist in a mini-dress with patterned tights, bug-eye glasses, and a cropped haircut – all shot from a low angle to give the image a slightly unbalanced, psychedelic aura.
Halston dress 1975

          In the 1970s, ready-to-wear clothing lines by Halston, Anne Klein, and Yves Saint Laurent were coveted by women who had newly entered the workforce and were attempting to balance their jobs and families. Photographers such as Arthur Elgort endeavored to show women going about their everyday routines, and hired models who were relatable, natural, and health-conscious. Others such as Helmut Newton and Chris von Wagenheim challenged propriety with aggressive, sexualized images that often turned the tables on traditional gender stereotypes. The 1960s and 70s also saw increased diversity, with African American models such as Donyale Luna and Beverly Johnson being chosen to grace the covers of top style magazines for the first time. Johnson’s historic 1974 Vogue cover will be on view.
Bruce Weber


 Fashion photography of the 1980s and 90s embraced the athletic female body, the display of male sexuality, the birth of the supermodel, and the introduction of darker motifs in the genre. The 1980s saw the rise of corporate power dressing, the fitness trend, and the ascension of Italian designers such as Gianni Versace and Giorgio Armani. Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber portrayed well-built male models in ways that emphasized their sexuality, forever changing how men were represented in fashion and advertising. Beauty and power were also exemplified by a new group of “supermodels,” who were offered enormous salaries for walking runways all over the world. Ritts is known for creating one of the most famous photographs of this time – the seemingly nude embrace of supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz, Stephanie Seymour, and Christy Turlington.

          In the 1990s, an economic downturn, an increase in drug use, and the incorporation of the Seattle-based grunge movement by the fashion industry gave birth to “heroin chic,” which presented stick-thin models such as Kate Moss in sickly looking makeup. The raw, overexposed style of Corinne Day, who shot unkempt models in shabby environments was not only a source of inspiration for this new style, but also the antithesis of the over-the-top glamour and excess of the previous decade.
 The exhibition concludes by presenting a diverse selection of contemporary photographs that reveals some of the ongoing possibilities of fashion photography, and the digital tools that have reshaped the notion of what—technically and conceptually—a fashion photograph is.
The growth of street-style fashion blogs such as Scott Schuman’s The Sartorialist (2005) and global internet picture-sharing applications such as Instagram (2010) and Snapchat (2011) are reshaping a rapidly evolving industry, providing aspiring and established fashion photographers with new outlets for their work.

The exhibition is generously supported by Arlene Schnitzer, Jordan Schnitzer, and the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation.

The Getty Museum 2nd Exhibit opening the same day is : GETTY RESEARCH INSTITUTE PRESENTS


The exhibition draws on the Getty Research Institute’s extensive collection of artists’ books and features work: paper, stainless steel wires, tubing, colored ink, pencil and watercolor by more than 40 contemporary artists Barbara Fahrner (German, b. 1940) - Daniel E. Kelm (American, b. 1951) and Philosopher’s Stone, 1992.
"Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists" presents more than 40 of the liveliest and most unexpected examples of artists’ books from the GRI’s Special Collections. The exhibit is on view at the Getty Research Institute from June 26 through October 28, 2018,

            “Books are at the heart of the Getty Research Institute’s collections, from fifteenth and sixteenth-century illustrated editions to the avant-garde experiments of the early 20th century to our large and varied collection of more than 6,000 books made by artists from the 1950s to today,” said Andrew Perchuk, acting director of the Getty Research Institute. “These striking works often make their way into the GRI’s collections through our relationships with contemporary artists or they come as part of artists’ archives, which we collect in depth. Artists’ books resonate with the GRI’s interest in exploring creative processes and are a fundamental and often understudied element of art history. I am certain our visitors will find these extraordinary examples evocative and compelling.”

            Artists’ books occupy a creative space between traditional books and contemporary works of art, often questioning what a book can be. This highly visual and experiential exhibition focuses on artists’ books that can be unpacked, unfolded, or read in alternative ways. Some are made to be shown on the wall or displayed as sculptures or installations. The exhibition highlights the myriad incarnations and innovative roles for books in contemporary culture.

“When artists make or design books, they delve into the possibilities of this distinctive cultural object in ways that expand our notions of what a book can be,” said Marcia Reed, chief curator of the Getty Research Institute and one of the curators of the exhibition. “The book holds a special status in contemporary art practice, and we look forward to sharing examples from this critical collecting area of the GRI with wider audiences. Because the GRI’s collections of artists’ books are not well known, for several years we have been working on a publication that shares selected works from postwar and contemporary collection of artists’ books. This exhibition and the related catalogue is born of that research. Together this stunningly designed volume and the exhibition of selected artists’ books—slightly different from the book—show the breadth of our collection of artists’ books as well as illustrating how books designed and made by artists extend the boundaries of the GRI’s rare book collections.”
            Some of the artists in the exhibition, such as Tauba Auerbach and Dieter Roth specialize in making art in the form of books, or have established small presses, like Sam Francis’ Lapis Press in Santa Monica and Venice and Felicia Rice’s Moving Parts Press in Santa Cruz. Many others who are primarily known as sculptors, painters, or performance artists have also experimented in artists’ books, including Ellsworth Kelly, Anselm Kiefer, Barbara T. Smith and Wei Tan.

            “Many of the works in this exhibition might not look like a book at all, but they all play with the idea of what a book is and how to engage with it,” said Glenn Phillips, exhibition co-curator and head of modern and contemporary art collections the GRI. “It is interesting to note that while many artists have devoted their practices to making books, there are so many more artists working in other media who have made books at some point in their careers. Although they may be challenging to display and even collect, books seem to have the same appeal to artists as they do to other readers – the objects themselves can be just as compelling as the content within.”

            The books, multiples, and unique objects included in the exhibition take different shapes, some made with surprising materials, while being made to be looked at or interacted with in different ways. For example, The Philosopher’s Stone, 1992, a unique book-object by Barbara Fahrner and Daniel E. Kelm, is a geometric paper egg that holds nuggets of wisdom to be revealed as corners are turned down and intricately drawn panels filled with handwritten text are unfurled. Once fully taken apart, it is no easy feat to put the angular ‘pages’ of this book-inspired paper sculpture back together.

            One of the more recent works in the exhibition is DOC/UNDOC (2017) by Felicia Rice and Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Riffing on earlier boxes assembled by Marcel Duchamp, this is a high-tech aluminum case that holds an altar, a cabinet of curiosities, and a Mexican wrestling mask.  Opening the case triggers lights and music, the sound art created for the piece by Zachary Watkins. Installation of this work will include a multimedia component giving visitors the opportunity to experience these interactive elements.

            One of the earliest pieces in the exhibition stands out for its confrontational style – and smell. Dieter Roth’s work Poetrie, 1967, is a book made of 21 clear vinyl envelopes for pages, on which the texts of poems are printed. The envelopes contain urine, now desiccated and yellow green, retaining its distinctive odor, which may be getting stronger over time. The artist produced this book in an edition of 30; fifty years after their publication the see-through pages have wrinkled and changed color but still make a strong impression.

            This summer sees the release of the Getty publication Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists, which inspired the exhibition. Edited by Marcia Reed and Glenn Phillips, this volume includes over one hundred important examples selected from the Getty Research Institute’s Special Collections.

The publication also presents precursors to the artist’s book, such as Joris Hoefnagel’s sixteenth-century calligraphy masterpiece; early illustrated scientific works; and avant-garde publications. Mid twentieth-century works in the publication reveal the impact of Pop Art, Fluxus, Conceptualism, feminist art, and postmodernism on artists’ books. The selection of books by an international range of artists who have chosen to work with texts and images on paper provokes new inquiry into the long-term fertile relationship of art and books in contemporary culture.

A full list of artists included in the exhibition Artists and Their Books / Books and Their Artists is attached.

 The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The J. Paul Getty Museum collects Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts to 1900, as well as photographs from around the world to the present day. The Museum’s mission is to display and interpret its collections, and present important loan exhibitions and publications for the enjoyment and education of visitors locally and internationally. This is supported by an active program of research, conservation, and public programs that seek to deepen our knowledge of and connection of works of art.

Additional information is available at

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