David LaChapelle Retrospective: Over-the-top Pop Art Photography


Amanda as Andy Warhol’s Marilyn, 2002 © David LaChapelle

American Pop photographer David LaChapelle is in the art-world spotlight with a big mid-career retrospective exhibition in Paris (February 6 – May 31). His work is over-the-top, which is often appropriate for his subject matter — celebrities, sex, drugs, money, greed, high-fashion and excess of all kinds. Recently, he’s been applying his characteristic style to a wide range of other themes like war and the media, spirituality, natural disasters, floods and hurricanes, conspicuous consumption, fossil fuels and carbon footprints, old master artworks and surrealism.

Cathedral, 2007 © David LaChapelle

LaChapelle claims to have found inspiration for some of his recent work from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. In an interview, LaChapelle said:

I was really attracted to Michelangelo since I was a child. If you talk about Pop, he’s the ultimate Pop artist. He’s the one artist who’s recognized throughout the world. You can show the picture of the hand, the creation of Adam, and everyone knows the name of the artist. Which is pretty close to the definition of Pop – being popular: Everyone knows Michelangelo. The work somehow is broad enough, it really reaches out to every intellect…

Read more in our review of the exhibition, and see lots more images from the show.

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