Time Out says
Few photographers have obtained the mythic stature of Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989), whose style imparted an austere, almost brutal, beauty to controversial subject matter. Mapplethorpe’s large-format, black-and-white photos (produced, more often than not, within the controlled environs of a studio) reflected his life as a gay artist working in the Downtown demimonde of post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS new York—a period when the utopian promise of sexual liberation gave way to the fear of plague. Indeed, Mapplethorpe seemed to find a connection between eros and thanatos in almost all of his photos, from floral still-lives to homoerotic celebrations of the male body. Those images and more are recalled in this two-part retrospective marking the 30th anniversary of the his death.