Robert Mapplethorpe

Art , Photography
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 (Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait (Autoportrait), 1988 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission)
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Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-portrait (Autoportrait), 1988 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission
 (Robert Mapplethorpe, Embrace (Etreinte), 1982 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission )
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Robert Mapplethorpe, Embrace (Etreinte), 1982 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission
 (Robert Mapplethorpe, Nicky Waymouth, 1973 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission )
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Robert Mapplethorpe, Nicky Waymouth, 1973 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission
 (Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Lyon, 1982 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission )
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Robert Mapplethorpe, Lisa Lyon, 1982 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission
 ( 	Robert Mapplethorpe, Calla Lily, 1986 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission )
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Robert Mapplethorpe, Calla Lily, 1986 / © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission

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.

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