Amy Adler

February 9, 2002 - April 28, 2002

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Amy Adler Photographs Leonardo DiCaprio

Installation at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles 2001.

About the Exhibition

Amy Adler has long been fascinated with public figures-especially movie stars and musicians whose mechanically-reproduced images circulate endlessly throughout our culture and yet whose private identities remain inaccessible to the public. In early 2001, Adler photographed the actor Leonardo DiCaprio at her home in London. Her brief session with DiCaprio proved to be the very antithesis of a celebrity publicity shoot: intimate, casual, and spontaneous. Adler made drawings of the DiCaprio photographs and then photographed the drawings. The drawings and the original negatives were then destroyed, resulting in six singular images that are the only evidence of Adler's encounter with this elusive celebrity.

Organized by Claudine Isé, Assistant curator at the UCLA Hammer Museum.

Amy Adler Photographs Leonardo DiCaprio

In 2001, while living in London, Amy Adler arranged a private photo shoot with the actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The shoot took more than a year to schedule, and the actual date and time were not finalized until a day before it took place. Adler recalls that when DiCaprio finally entered her flat, she had the peculiar sensation that reality had momentarily warped: "I wasn't sure whether I had just stepped into his landscape, or he had stepped into mine."1 Adler shot one roll of film, as DiCaprio stood casually, in the light of her bedroom window, and the two talked.

Adler has long been interested in the psychological construction and cultural meditation of identity through mass media images. She frequently chooses to portray actors and musicians, because it is often through images of these idealized figures that we derive a sense of our own identities. Images of celebrities reflect our desires back at us; we define ourselves through and against the qualities with which we imbue them. Although Adler had previously utilized magazine images of recognizable actors from magazines, CD covers, and film stills in her work, her photo shoot with DiCaprio marked the first time that her portrayal of a famous actor was based on a "live," in-person encounter. More

1. All statements attributed to Amy Adler are from the author's conversations with the artist, December 6, 2001, and January 4, 2002.


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