David LaChapelle 1984-2013. Lima Contemporary Art Museum

There is something about David LaChapelle’s photography that despite seeming strange, appears to be nonetheless familiar. In his most characteristic images, an unlikely configuration of characters and elements interact on an unusual landscape. It looks as if in his photographs, as occurs in the uncanny, the familiar has become strange.

His first approach to photography was when he was 6 years old during a family vacation to Puerto Rico. There he used the camera to portray his mother, wearing a bikini and sipping champagne on a balcony. Since that time, he was obsessed with photography. His career as a photographer began in the 1980s when he started to show his art in New York galleries. His work caught the attention of Andy Warhol, who offered him his first job as a photographer at Interview Magazine. His photographs of celebrities in the interviews section reaped good comments, and soon he found himself taking photos for the best publishing houses and creating some of the most famous advertising campaigns of his generation.

On this occasion, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lima exhibited a selection of photographic series ranging from 1984 to 2013, in which the artist shows a critique of pop culture of the XXI century.

Iconic People
David LaChapelle worked with celebrities and Hollywood’s most iconic people. He worked with celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Naomi Campbell, Britney Spears, Eminem, Uma Thurman, David Bowie, Drew Barrimore, among others.

Andy Warhol: Last Sitting, David LaChapelle, 1986 – 1986
In his words: “I met Andy Warhol at clubs in New York… I talked to him and said I was a photographer and if could I show him my pictures and he said ‘Sure’. He gave me my first extended place to work as a photographer at Interview magazine. It was my schooling.”

Cameron Diaz: Dollhouse Disaster, Home Invasion, David LaChapelle, 1997 – 1997
The strangeness of the picture concerns the disproportion in size between Cameron Diaz and the setting of the photo. Regarding the dollhouse, Diaz evokes Alice -the one from Wonderland- after eating the cake which makes her grow.

Drew Barrymore: A Waitress, David LaChapelle, 1995 – 1995
Britney Spears: NYC Street Scene, David LaChapelle, 2000 – 2000
David LaChapelle’s work is influenced by his relationship with magazines, fashion and the icons of contemporary culture, while he shows his own world view.

Naomi Campbell: Have Your Seen Me, David LaChapelle, 1999 – 1999
Eminem: About to Blow, David LaChapelle, 1999 – 1999
David Bowie: Eyes That Cannot See, David LaChapelle, 1995 – 1995

“Jesus is my Homeboy” Series
Jesus Is My Homeboy is a series of six photographs depicting scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, but this time reconfigured in the anonymous setting of a contemporary metropolis.

Jesus is my Homeboy: Evidence of a Miraculous Event, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003

The main objective of LaChapelle for this series was to help dispel the trial of the fundamentalists by placing Jesus in nowadays, not surrounded by samaritans or lepers or people possessed by demons, but instead, with today marginalized people.

Jesus is my Homeboy: Last Supper, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003
Jesus is my Homeboy: Intervention, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003
Jesus is my Homeboy: Sermon, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003
Jesus is my Homeboy: Anointing, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003
Jesus is my Homeboy: Loaves and Fishes, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003

David LaChapelle works with Michael Jackson.
The very meaning of the pieces relies on the media controversy surrounding Michael Jackson. His work recruits broadcast journalism’s discourse and orientation towards spectacle in the construction of its meanings.

The Kingdom Come. Archangel Michael: And No Message Could Have Been any Clearer, David LaChapelle, 2009 – 2009
Michael Jackson is portrayed as the Archangel Michael defeating the devil in the midst of a sea cliff. While classic religious iconography shows the Archangel Michael in armor.

The Kingdom Come. Archangel Michael: And No Message Could Have Been any Clearer, David LaChapelle, 2009 – 2009
Here Jackson wears his typical attire making the singer immediatly recognizable as himself.

The Kingom Come. The Beatification: I’ll Never Let You Part for You’re Always in my Heart, David LaChapelle, 2009 – 2009
The Kingom Come. American Jesus: Hold me, Carry Me Boldly, David LaChapelle, 2009 – 2009
These photos belong to the series “The Kingdom Come”.

David LaChapelle works with Amanda Lepore
The different lines of visual production feed back mutually because they all shape a kind of subjectivity. The society consumes symbols, by which a “life style” is adopted or existence is modeled.

Amanda As Andy Warhol’s Marilyn, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003
The famous transexual icon Amanda Lepore poses as Marylin Monroe but in the version of the portraits of the actress made by Andy Warhol. The beauty ideal exceeds the limits of a beauty salon, as it demands a surgical production of the body, a complete reinvention of the person.

Amanda As Andy Warhol’s Liz Taylor, David LaChapelle, 2003 – 2003
David and Amanda, David LaChapelle, 2001 – 2001

“Still Life” Series
The “Still Life” series connects consumer culture and death around celebrities, questioning the possibilities and limits of turning a person into a commodity. For the series, LaChapelle photographed the remains of wax figures.

Still Life: Madonna, David LaChapelle, 2012 – 2012
This picture shows the armless torso and face of Madonna, wearing lipstick, and including her characteristic mole and crucifix earing. The importance breasts have in the picture suggests that the iconic nature of the character is inseparable from its sexualization.

Still Life: Princess Diana, David LaChapelle, 2012 – 2012

Still Life: Michael Jackson, David LaChapelle, 2012 – 2012
Shows Michael Jackson’s face fractured at the level of the eyes, a severed and bandaged forearm and a few cut-off fingers. The mask’s artifice is patent. Is a commentary ont he nature of fame, where the reproducibility of the image occurs at the expense of its fragility, where icons are based on their artificiality.

Still Life: Margaret Thatcher, David LaChapelle, 2012 – 2012

Uma Thurman: Gossip, David LaChapelle, 1997 – 1997
LaChapelle is the only artist of photography that is active today, who has been able to successfully maintain a profound impact on the field of celebrity photography, as well as the notoriously demanding contemporary art intellectuality.

Museum of Contemporary Art of Lima
Founded in 2013, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lima (MAC Lima ) is the only institution dedicated exclusively to the promotion, research and dissemination of contemporary artistic practices in Peru. It is located in Barranco, a traditional, cultural and cosmopolitan district. In its three rooms, 100, 200 and 1000 m2, there are exhibitions of its collection of modern and contemporary Latin American art, as well as temporary exhibitions of emerging and consolidated artists.

MAC has a collection of modern, contemporary, national and international art dating from 1950 onwards, founded in 2013. The Museum is a private non-profit organization which dedicates its efforts to promote the knowledge and experience of the visual arts community, with emphasis on the promotion of contemporary culture.

It has a regular educational program that promotes meeting, participation, critical thinking, enjoyment and creation. Its industrial architecture is surrounded by a terrace and a park where events, shows and multiple artistic expressions take place.

The MAC Lima aims to be an institution articulated with the urban environment and the sensitivities and debates of his time, allied with the artistic community and open to diversity of audiences.