This week we will be celebrating Stephen Reinstein’s (1953–2017) love of photography. His generous bequest to LACMA included 100 works by over 70 artists—a selection of 25 of those will be on view in our Study Center for Photography and Works on Paper through September 23. How do you say thank you to a gift like that?
Come see this special "pop up" display and you will get a sense of how unique this L.A. collector’s vision was and how his collection reflects an appreciation for the range of photographic practice. In a nod to the many generations of photographers calling L.A. home, we’ve included several local artists—Matthew Brandt, Jo Ann Callis, John Divola, Anthony Lepore, David Benjamin Sherry, and Melanie Willhide, to name a few—artists Steve supported early on and followed throughout their careers.
Displays in our Study Center are also a uniquely informal way to get up-close to our collection. When you visit, you’ll see mostly unframed artwork (they’ll be inside the upright display cases), which is as close to "bare naked" photos as one can get in a museum! I was fortunate in that I saw many of the works in Steve’s collection in this democratic way—that is, as he was about the acquire them—and then also in his amazingly curated installation, aka his home where he lived joyfully with his art. And then also bittersweetly, I watched as they arrived here for our safekeeping. Now I attempt to honor Steve’s vision and to share it. As I said above, it’s filled with many names you will recognize, along with the less recognizable; it’s a bit dark, a bit edgy, a bit Steve.
I hope you will come experience photography as you may never have before at LACMA. As you exit the Study Center, remember Steve’s generosity in leaving this jewel of a collection to LACMA and be sure to look for works in the Reinstein bequest as they appear in future exhibitions!
The Study Center is located in our Art of the Americas Building and is accessible directly off Level 2, right next door to 3D: Double Vision.