Cuckoo for Mappelthorpe?

Robert Mapplethorpe was the quintessential New York artist, but the late photographer's work has found a new home in L.A. After February's announcement that the Getty and LACMA had, for the first time, jointly acquired Mapplethorpe's art and archive — valued at more than $30 million for more than 2,000 prints, mixed-media works, correspondence and even films, including one starring former girlfriend Patti Smith -- from the New York-based Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, both museums are finally ready to unveil their companion exhibits. LACMA's "Robert Mapplethorpe: XYZ" displays Mapplethorpe's trademark black-and-white images divided into three categories: floral still-lifes, male nudes and gay S&M scenes -- think urinating and anus insertion. (The shock value of these pictures may have worn off over the years, but art versus porn was a hot-button issue in 1990, when the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and the National Endowment for the Arts were indicted, and acquitted, for showing some of Mapplethorpe's photographs.) Two days later, the Getty opens "In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe," featuring more R-rated nudes, in addition to collages, Polaroids and perhaps the artist's most recognizable image, that of the cover art to Smith's album Horses. The museums plan to host even larger-scale exhibits dedicated to Mapplethorpe in 2016. The Getty, 1200 Getty Center Drive; Tues., Oct. 23, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; thru March 24. (310) 440-7300, getty.edu. LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Oct. 21-March 24. (323) 857-6151, lacma.org.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 23. Continues through March 24, 2012

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