The J. Paul Getty museum in LA is set to showcase the work of Herb Ritts in a major exhibition that segues from celebrity portraiture to fashion imagery to nudes.
The show will bring together his trademark fashion and figure work including portraits of some of the most recognisable personalities of the Eighties’ and Nineties’.
Ritts’s soft and spotlit black and white photography came to characterize much of the era, and visitors will be treated to a nostalgic trip through the age of the supermodel, with celebrities and models of the era adorning the walls of the gallery. The photographer, who died aged just 50 from pneumonia caused by AIDS in 2002, shot the likes of Cindy, Naomi and Christy as well as Madonna – for whom he also directed the Cherish video in signature black and white. Ritts shot for Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone and created images of Michael Jackson, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Britney Spears and Tom Cruise among many more.
His muscular male figures helped to reframe the concept of the nude, with iconic images of the likes of Tony Ward, Bill T Jones and a muscle bound Greg Louganis resonating with the Mapplethorpe oeuvre.
In terms of fashion imagery, there will be hundreds of Ritts’ spreads on show, in which he often used LA for the location, suffusing Cailfornia’s natural light into and often through the fabrics of the clothes on show.
Called “Herb Ritts: L.A. style”, the exhibition will kick off on April 3 and will stay open until August 26. It will transfer to Cincinnati Art Museum from October 6 to December 30 and relocate to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Florida from March 1 to June 2, 2013.