Mapplethorpe 97.4416 Calla Lily 1/15/2004 photo DH
Too often, Robert Mapplethorpe’s work is reduced to its more lewd manifestations: most viewers having trouble getting past the famous image of a man leaning forward, twisted to look back at the camera, with a whip emerging from his anus.
And yet, despite the sadomasochistic tendencies of artistic New York in the 70s and 80s (in which Mapplethorpe took enthusiastic part. A former partner of Patti Smith, he died of AIDS in 1989), Mapplethorpe has built up a body of work marked overall by a constant search for grace and harmony. Through his career he covered landscapes, nudes, portraits and still lives, treating them in a very classical approach with a highly stylised monochrome palette. The Grand Palais shows a collection that is at once prolific and hybrid.