GEORGE PLATT LYNES
15 January - 21 February 2015
George Platt Lynes is a distinct presentation of vintage photographs of surreal mythological subjects, as well as male and female nudes by the artist.
Recognized today as a master of 20th century photography and influencing artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe and Herb Ritts, George Platt Lynes (1907 – 1955) was commercially successful in New York fashion and portrait photography. His separate art practice is largely characterized today by his remarkable photographs of nude men from the 1930s until his death. Using inventive lighting, posing, and cropping techniques within his carefully staged studio settings, he was able to translate visually both the physical and psychological nuances of his subjects.
After spending time in Paris, he entered Yale University in 1926. He left after his first semester and moved to New York City where he found his aesthetic through photography. He first photographed informal portraits in the late 1920s, then evolved to official society photography that contributed to high profile fashion magazines, solo exhibitions and significant museum shows,. His glamorous portraits of literary, film, and art world personalities suggest the type of personal relationships he had with the cognoscenti. His friendship with New York art dealer Julien Levy led to his first exhibition in 1932.
Assuming the role as head of Vogue magazine's West Coast studio in Los Angeles in 1946, Lynes photographed celebrities like Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Swanson, and Orson Welles. He returned to New York in 1948, focusing his photography practice on his private interests: male nudes, and the documentation of productions by the New York City Ballet. During this time, Lynes also became acquainted with Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an influential researcher on human sexuality who in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, now known as the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. A substantial body of Lynes' nude and homoerotic works was ultimately left to the Kinsey Institute after Lynes' death in 1955.
George Platt Lynes ran concurrently with two exhibitions: Robert Mapplethorpe and Ted Victoria.