Goodbye Herb: The Getty’s Ritts Retrospective Closes

While for many, Labor Day Weekend means an opportunity to barbecue, catch movie matinees, or escape to one last campground for the season, it also marks the final chance to visit The Getty’s Herb Ritts: L.A. Style. The retrospective, which closes on Sunday, September 3, has proven incredibly popular (The Getty chose to extend the exhibit through the summer) for good reason.

Sprawling through multiple rooms of the Getty’s West Pavilion, L.A. Style divides Ritts’ oeuvre into various categories including fashion and commercial photography, nudes, and celebrity portraiture. The meticulously curated collection offers us a brilliant perspective of the photographer.

There are portraits of Madonna, Karl Lagerfeld, and Richard Gere (in dangerously tight denim) and scores of supermodels. There are images that perfectly embody Ritts’ fascination with natural elements, movement, and the human form. But the real thrill of the exhibition are lesser known photographs, those anomalies and incongruities that launched Ritts from the commercial realm into life as a visionary. A photograph of David Hockney in his studio, face obscured by Hockney’s painting of his mother, makes L.A. Style worth a trip up the 405. The rest is one expansive, marvelous bonus.

Kit Warchol