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Dancing on the Head of a Pin: Paul Outerbridge and the Art of Commerce

Please note that this lecture was originally scheduled for Thursday, July 9.

Date: Sunday, July 26, 2009
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Museum Lecture Hall
Admission: Free; reservations required. Call (310) 440-7300 for reservations or use the "Make Reservation" button below.

"Art is life seen through man's inner craving for perfection and beauty—his escape from the sordid realities of life into a world of his imagining."
—Paul Outerbridge

The career of photographer Paul Outerbridge (1896–1958) was a study in artful balance between personal expression and commercial demands.

In this lecture, Paul Martineau, curator of the exhibition Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance, provides an overview of Outerbridge's career, focusing on his struggle to unite its artistic and commercial aspects. Outerbridge began as a designer and illustrator in New York before establishing himself as an innovative photographer in the world of advertising. Although his images were consistently ahead of their time, particularly in their use of color and in their erotic exploration, his commercial work eventually dried up.

Martineau provides a tour of Outerbridge's photographs over time and puts his work in context with that of other prominent photographers, such as Edward Steichen, Baron Adolf de Meyer, and Man Ray, to shed light on the difficulties that Outerbridge faced as world events and technological advances radically changed the art and high-end advertising markets.

About Paul Martineau
Paul Martineau is assistant curator of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the author of the exhibition catalogue Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance. Martineau has curated numerous photographs exhibitions at the Getty, including In Focus: The Nude and Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature.

The Shower / Outerbridge

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