Make Believe

A major David LaChapelle retrospective is arriving in New York
By Ella Joyce | Art | 16 August 2022

© David LaChapelle, courtesy of Fotografiska New York

Lil Kim covered in LV logos, Tupac in the bath and Michael Jackson as an angelic devil-slayer, David LaChapelle has taken the art of photography to surreal new levels. Now, a major new exhibition dedicated to the eminent photographer will arrive at Fotografiska in New York this September, chronicling his incredible career from its beginnings in 1984 to today – featuring 150 works curated by LaChapelle and his team for the artist’s long overdue first solo show at a New York museum. 

A true visionary in his field, over the past four decades LaChapelle has been the orchestrator of some of the world’s most iconic images across music, fashion and art. Bringing a new definition to celebrity photography, his hyperreal, highly saturated and elaborate style filters the surreal with the everyday.

© David LaChapelle, courtesy of Fotografiska New York

Titled Make Believe, the show will feature iconic works such as Andy Warhol’s final portrait and a naked Eminem, alongside shots of David Bowie, Madonna and Britney Spears. Having captured album artwork for the likes of Fleetwood Mac and Travis Scott, constructed nineteen covers for Rolling Stone and published over 40 books, LaChapelle is in no way short of a sprawling archive.

Celebrities aside, the fantasy world of LaChapelle is one defined by subverting the norm – giant burgers squash innocent bystanders, cans of Coca-Cola crash into cars and ice sculptures sit atop mountains – while an undercurrent of art history and religious iconography is seamlessly woven into the surrealism of his style, reinventing classic iconography for the 21st Century in a flurry of saturated hues and warped surroundings.

© David LaChapelle, courtesy of Fotografiska New York

LaChapelle said on his creative ethos: “I feel the responsibility to bring light into the world and make imagery that can elevate and serve humanity, even while sometimes employing drama and humour. Whether secular or religious, my images are part of the same experience and evolving perspective.” Split into five sections ad spread across all six floors of the gallery, the show at Fotografiska will delve beneath the surface of his artistic style to dissect the cultural interplay of themes such as religion, the environment, gender identity, body image, and the construction of celebrity.

Make Believe will run at Fotografiska New York from September 9th until January 9th 2023.



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