the first ever robert mapplethorpe documentary is coming to hbo

The biopic will include the iconic photographer's controversial documentary images of BDSM subculture in 60s and 70s New York.

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Dec 7 2015, 8:10pm

Chronicling the life and work of Robert Mapplethorpe -- one of the 20th century's most controversial artists famed for his black and white photographs of New York's BDSM subculture in the 60s and 70s -- Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures is the first biopic on the artist since his death in 1989.

From his time studying at the Pratt Institute to his death from an AIDS related illness, the feature length documentary will coincide with two major retrospectives at The J. Paul Getty Museum and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which will open next year.

"Even his most shocking and forbidden images are included without blurs, without snickers," explain filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who were given unprecedented access to the artist's archive, " in other words, exactly as the artist intended". As well as never before seen photographs and film footage, the documentary (which airs on HBO in April) will include interviews with the likes of Brooke Shields, Fran Lebovitz and Debbie Harry.

The news arrives after Showtime's summer announcement that it is adapting Patti Smith's cult memoir Just Kids -- which chronicles her friendship with Mapplethorpe -- into a television show.