robert mapplethorpe retrospective to open in los angeles
One of the 20th century’s most celebrated and controversial photographers will be the subject of a giant retrospective at LACMA next year.
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium will span the provocative photographer's work from the 60s through 80s, exploring the shifts from his pornographic images featuring leather and bondage to still lives and commissioned studio portraits. The show's title stems from Mapplethorpe's own assertions that photography was "the perfect medium for the 70s and 80s, when everything was fast. If I were to make something that took two weeks to do, I'd lose my enthusiasm. It would become an act of labor and the love would be gone."
will doubtlessly touch on the controversy surrounding his work, including the cancellation of a 1989 show at Washington's Corcoran Gallery of Art, an obscenity trial around an exhibition of his work in Cincinnati in 1990 and claims that his series of photos of black male nudes amounted to racial fetishism. The LACMA exhibition will also be accompanied by the installation , which will include around 30 works by the likes of Bruce Weber, Kiki Smith, Sarah Charlesworth, Laura Aguilar and Marina Abramovic.
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium runs March 20 - July 31 at The Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Text Stuart Brumfitt
All images copyright The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation