We pay tribute to Robert Maplethorpe, a household name since the 70’s when he introduced his unflinching and deeply provocative photographs to the world.
“What struck me first were his eyes…and how he looked at me,” said David Croland. Be it figures, flowers or fetishes, Mapplethorpe was after perfection. Predominantly black and whites, his work governs meticulous detail paying homage to his sheer concentration and perhaps too, his mentor and lover, Sam Wagstaff.
By night, Mapplethorpe was apart of the underground queer society, serving his dedication to gay civil rights, whilst capturing cult favourites of Patti Smith, Louise Bourgeois and Isabella Rossellini. He distilled these cultural idols and political movements in their most prominent stages.
Mapplethorpe endured the wild ride of life, but it were these struggles that for the most part, make his work and life seem more valuable.
Having died from AIDS in 1989 at age 42, his memory still lives on and in light of this, we visited The NSW Art Gallery to catch a glimpse into Maplethorpe’s curious perceptions. If you’re around, take a visit as it’s on until March 2018.
Be sure to note how it makes you feel; perhaps uncomfortable; enjoyable, curious. Spurring on the minds of his audience – this was Mapplethorpe’s intention, and for that, we shall forever honour his fearless artistic choices.