Flash Art May, 1999


America, besides its indisputable power, is also the country of infinite excess, the arena of contradictory impulses, insatiable consumption, the excited institute of contemporary vernacular and the wonderland of Disney. Las Vegas massive neon light, the garishly golden arch of McDonald. Perhaps no other American photographer working today, best sums up these verité Americana, more than David LaChapelle.

Kitsch, camp, bizarre, surreal, prop-ridden, over-the-top or freakish, are terms often use to describe his work. Looking beyond these obvious characteristics, LaChapelle is able to demonstrate an uncanny narrative ability with the economy of a devastating quip. "Nuns and Maids" exemplifies the leveling field exerted by an earthquake, a natural catastrophe that inevitably reduces even the most sophisticated culture to a rubble and in effect erases all distinctions between upper and lower classes, whereby everyone is truly homeless, glamour or no glamour.

Greatly in demand, LaChapelle was recently ranked 11th of the 100 most important people in photography 1998, by American Photo. His work has been featured in Rolling Stones, Interview magazine, Vanity Fair, French Vogue, The Face, ID, The New York Times Magazine. He has done advertising work for the likes of Camel, Pepsi, Levis, Diesel Jeans, Gaultier Perfume, Armani Jeans. His first monograph, LaChapelle Land, Callaway Editions/Simon & Schuster, is followed by his second book.

Living Large at Hotel LaChapelle. He is currently having an exhibition of his work at Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy. The show runs from March 19th through May 14th,1999.

Directed by the famed and gifted London-based, Isabella Blow, a regular collaborator of LaChapelle. Nuns and Maids, features a bevy of sought-after designers Jeremy Scott, Givenchy, Viktor & Rolf, Philip Treacy, Abraham Petham and Simon Periton.

By Iké Udé.

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