Cameron, Julia M.
Coburn, Alvin L.
Talbot,William H. Fox
Biography: American photographer, whose work is critically
acclaimed despite accusations of pornographic content in some
of his photographs. He was born in Queens, New York, and educated
at the Pratt Institute of Art. After studying painting, drawing,
and sculpture, he turned to photography. His first works in this
field were collages made of photos cut from magazines and spray-painted.
He then took his own photos, using a Polaroid camera. He had his
first one-man show in 1976, then switched to a large-format press
camera for his next. In 1977 he exhibited pictures of homosexual
men in sexual acts or with sadomasochistic paraphernalia, set
against conventional backdrops and in classical composition. Despite
their sensational subject matter, which brought him instant notoriety,
Mapplethorpe's work was critically acclaimed. Other exhibits included
photos of flowers and nudes, as well as portraits of celebrities.
He explored new printing techniques and was known for his experiments
with lighting and color.
Mapplethorpe had one-man shows at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington,
D.C. (1978), the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris (1983),
and the Whitney Museum in New York (1988). A planned exhibit at
the Corcoran was cancelled because the content was thought to
be pornographic and displaying it jeopardized the gallery's federal
funding. When shown in Cincinnati, the director of the Contemporary
Arts Center was arrested, tried, and acquitted of obscenity charges.
Mapplethorpe, who was diagnosed as having AIDS in 1986, died of
More on Robert Mapplethorpe:
Extensive Examples of Mapplethorpe's work, Including Biography.
Large Listing of Books on mapplethorpe's work.
Gallery - Mapplethorpe
Biography and Several Examples of Mapplethorpe's work.
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