Robert Mapplethorpe
1946–1989

Introduction

Robert Michael Mapplethorpe ( MAY-pəl-thorp; November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) was an American photographer, best known for his black-and-white photographs. His work featured an array of subjects, including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, self-portraits, and still-life images. His most controversial works documented and examined the gay male BDSM subculture of New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Mapplethorpe's 1989 exhibition, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, sparked a debate in the United States concerning both use of public funds for "obscene" artwork and the Constitutional limits of free speech in the United States.

Wikidata identifier

Q312786

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Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Accessed May 12, 2024.

Introduction

Mapplethorpe studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he met singer/poet Patti Smith in 1968, whom he later photographed for her album covers. His initial interest in photography took the form of collages from photographs he found, but in 1972 he began to take pictures with a Polaroid camera. His images are classical and formal in appearance, his favorites subjects being male nudes, flowers, and still lifes. His homoerotic images became the subject of a much publicized obscenity charge in 1990 involving the Cincinnati Art Museum. Mapplethorpe also did a series of self-portraits toward the end of his life, documenting his deteriorating health from AIDS.

Country of birth

United States

Roles

Artist, collagist, multimedia artist, painter, photographer, sculptor

ULAN identifier

500090430

Names

Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Maplethorpe, Bob Mapplethorpe

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed May 12, 2024.