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Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989)Robert Mapplethorpe

Fine Art

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 the disease.

More on Robert Mapplethorpe:

OCAIW - Mapplethorpe
Extensive Examples of Mapplethorpe's work, Including Biography.

Robert Mapplethorpe Books
Large Listing of Books on mapplethorpe's work.

Global Gallery - Mapplethorpe
Biography and Several Examples of Mapplethorpe's work.

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