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Yasumasa Morimura: Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography

Yasumasa Morimura, Daughter of Art History (Theater A & B), 1990.

J. Paul Getty Museum is hosting Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography, an exhibition showing photographs by seven contemporary artists, who have reenacted older works of art, and given a new spin to its narratives. The exhibition is on view through June 9, 2019.

From reenactments of battles to dramatic theater productions, the restaging of historical events has a long history. Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography explores how restaging can highlight underrepresented stories and critique established narratives.

“For some contemporary photographers, reimaging events for the camera has become a powerful means to explore art historical narratives or reinterpret personal stories,” the museum says.

This exhibition, featuring works by seven artists who practices the genre of photographic simulation, juxtaposes more than 40 works created between 1985 and 2008. The artists are Eileen Cowin (American, born 1947), Christina Fernandez (American, born 1965), Samuel Fosso (Cameroonian, born 1962), Yasumasa Morimura (Japanese, born 1951), Yinka Shonibare CBE (British-Nigerian, born 1962), Gillian Wearing (English, born 1963), and Qiu Zhijie (Chinese, born 1969).

These artists explore a range of topics, including the enduring power of celebrated works of art, the legacies of famous historical figures, and the politics of identity.

“The fascinating and sometimes startling photographs in this exhibition weave together allusions to historical events and personalities, famous works of art, and personal narratives as a way to reflect upon the issues of our times,” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Visitors will see a number of famous works that are recreated in images, such as Eileen Cowin’s reenactment of the obscured kiss in Rene Magritte’s The Lovers II or Yasumasa Morimura’s self-portrait as the barmaid in Edouard Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere.”

The exhibition showcases objects drawn from the Getty Museum’s permanent collection, as well as loans from several generous lenders.