15 January - 21 February 2015
Robert Mapplethorpe, an exhibition comprising a selection of dye transfer and gelatin silver prints of the artist’s key subjects, includes images of classical antiquity, nudes, self-portraiture and flowers.
Initially experimenting with various materials in mixed-media collages, Mapplethorpe increasingly focused his artistic practice on Polaroid photography and mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, Polaroids, in 1973 at the Light Gallery in New York City. Two years later, he turned to a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground in New York City. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany, and in 1978, Robert Miller Gallery became his exclusive dealer. X Portfolio, published by Robert Miller Gallery in 1978, gave exposure to some of Mapplethorpe’s most controversial images. During the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a series of photographs that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities. He also introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20" x 24" Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints.
His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. In 1988, he established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to promote photography, to support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.
Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens and received a B.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He died in 1989. Mapplethorpe’s work is represented in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; Centre Pompidou, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, and many others.
Robert Mapplethorpe ran concurrently with two exhibitions: George Platt Lynes and Ted Victoria.