|Dates: ||1946, 4 November - 1989, 9 March|
|Born: ||US, NY, Queens, Floral Park|
American photographer who experimented with Polaroid images sometimes doing portraits of his close friend Patti Smith. In the 1970s he switched to large and medium format shots to take homo-erotic, fetish and sado-masochistic images. His series on Lisa Lyon, the first World Women's Bodybuilding Champion, was published as Lady, Lisa Lyon. He also took series of still-lifes, studio shots of flowers and portraits of exquisite beauty based upon poses used in Classical statues. His work is challenging, provocative and at times unsettling but needs to be understood in its entirity.
On 27th May 1987 he established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to supprt museums that showed photography and to fund medical research and the fights against AIS and HIV. Robert Mapplethorope died at 42 of AIDS.
Biography provided by Focal Press
Mapplethorpe achieved saturated recognition for his elegant photographic still life, portraits, and nudes, before dying tragically of AIDS. Born in New York to a Catholic family, he studied at Pratt Institute (drawing, sculpture) before becoming a photographic artist (he had considered a career as a musician). His interest in camera images was piqued by access to closed collections maintained by John McKendry (curator at Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Sam Wagstaff. He started taking Polaroid images and was influenced by Warhol’s art. Early portraits were of Lisa Lyon and Patti Smith. Mapplethorpe’s work was presented in a relatively modernist, aesthetisized style and his best known photographs featured nudes of black males and images with overt homoerotic subjects. The Corcoran Gallery canceled a solo exhibit, The Perfect Moment, by Mapplethorpe in 1989 due to pressure from groups voicing opposition to depictions of homosexual eroticism and the fact that the artist had received some funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The show was put on in Cincinnati in 1990 and this resulted in litigation over obscenity charges (subsequently, charges against the show sponsors resulted in an acquittal). The death of the artist from AIDS just before this brought about a clamorous collision between art, reality, morality, and legal issues. At the same time, the "culture wars" between liberal and conservative viewpoints flared up in many arenas. As an indirect consequence of Mapplethorpe’s photographs, public funding for the arts suffered drastic curtailment in the 1990s but the art world, for the most part, became more steadfast as a defender of freedom of expression.
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology)
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409]
(Used with permission)
Readings on, or by, individual photographers
Danto, A. C., 1996, Playing With the Edge: The Photographic Achievement of Robert Mapplethorpe, (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press) [Δ]
Flood, Richard (interviewer), 2011, Mapplethorpe x 7, (teNeues) isbn-10: 3832794735 isbn-13: 978-3832794736 [Seven artists David Hockney, Vik Muniz, Catherine Opie, Sterling Ruby, Cindy Sherman, Hedi Slimane, and Robert Wilson review the entire work of Robert Mapplethorpe.] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 1978, X [Portfolio] [Homosexual and sadomasochistic imagery] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 1978, Y [Portfolio] [Floral still lifes] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 1980, Robert Mapplethorpe: Black Males, (Amsterdam: Galeria Jurka) [Text by Edmund White] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 1981, Z [Portfolio] [Nude portraits of African-American men] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 1983, Lady: Lisa Lyon, (New York: St. Martins) [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 1999, Pictures: Robert Mapplethorpe, (New York: Arena Editions) [Edited by D. Levas] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 2009, Mapplethorpe: Perfection in Form, (teNeues) isbn-10: 383279316X isbn-13: 978-3832793166 [Bilingual] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert, 2010, The Black Book [Reprint. Text by Ntozake Shange] [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert & Muschamp, Herbert, 2006, Mapplethorpe: The Complete Flowers, (teNeues) isbn-10: 383279168X isbn-13: 978-3832791681 [Δ]
Mapplethorpe, Robert & Smith, Patti, 1990, Flowers, (Bulfinch Press) isbn-10: 082121781X isbn-13: 978-0821217818 [Δ]
Marshall, R.; Howard, R. & Sischy, I., 1988, Robert Mapplethorpe, (New York: Whitney Museum of Art) [Δ]
Morrisroe, P., 1995, Mapplethorpe, (New York: Papermac) [Δ]
Wolf, Sylvia, 2007, Mapplethorpe: Polaroids, (Prestel Publishing) isbn-10: 3791338358 isbn-13: 978-3791338354 [Δ]
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - firstname.lastname@example.org
| || |
|Family history |
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.