Summer, Lower East Side, New York City, 1937, Weegee (Arthur Fellig), gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum. © International Center of Photography
The introduction of photography in 1839 coincided with major social and economic changes spurred by the Industrial Revolution and a burgeoning culture of leisure. In addition to documenting historic events, this new medium was used to record the everyday, including the many ways people spent their free time. With the advent of faster film and handheld cameras, dancing and carousing were captured with the same enthusiasm as moments of respite and quiet contemplation. This exhibition traces the development of play as a photographic subject through the works of artists such as Eugène Atget, Roger Fenton, Lauren Greenfield, Bill Owens, and Larry Sultan among others.
Underwater Swimmer, negative, 1917; print, 1970s, André Kertész, gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum. © Estate of André Kertész
A variety of special programs complement the exhibition. All events are free, unless otherwise noted. Seating reservations are required. For reservations and information, please call (310) 440-7300 or see information on planning a visit.
The Art of Playing
Cherise Smith, professor of art and art history at the University of Texas, Austin, and her brother, retired professional baseball player Gary Matthews Jr., discuss the complicated boundaries between work and leisure from the perspective of two professionals whose careers many people associate with leisure activities.
Sunday, April 12, 3:00 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Lecture Hall
Curator’s Gallery Talk
Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photography, the J. Paul Getty Museum, leads a talk on the exhibition. Meet under the stairs in the Museum Entrance Hall.
Thursday, February 5, 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 10, 2:30 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum galleries
We’re turning the Getty Center into a gigantic playground for this daylong festival celebrating the simple act of play in all of its forms. From schoolyard games to a pop-up adventure playground, there’s something for every generation in this fun-filled day. Storytelling and music mix with patty-cake, cat’s cradle, hopscotch, chess, cards, board games, caroms, and even a Getty-wide scavenger hunt. Get your game face on!
Saturday, March 28, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Courtyard