After reading Just Kids about Patti Smith‘s life with Robert Mapplethorpe which then inspired me to see Patti Smith (grey hair in pigtails with her son Jackson on the guitar) at Cadogan Hall a few months ago, I probably will add this exhibit to my to-do list.
From the Tate: “American artist Robert Mapplethorpe pushed the boundaries of photography in both his subject choice and technique. This has led to him often being remembered exclusively for his controversial and often explicit images.
However, ARTIST ROOMS outstanding collection of his photographs allows these ‘controversial’ works to be considered in the context of his entire oeuvre. Mapplethorpe became famous, not to say, notorious, in the 1970s and 1980s for his photographs of the male nude and sexually explicit gay imagery. With these images he tested the right to individual freedom – they were not meant to be titillating, shocking or obscene, but beautiful in a traditionally classical way. His work therefore holds a significant place in the history of artistic struggle to depict the world as it is with honesty and truth.
ARTIST ROOMS presents sixty-four black and white photographs by Mapplethorpe, including seventeen vintage prints signed by the artist. It includes flower studies and portraits of many of the most influential artists, writers and musicians of the period, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Patti Smith, alongside several iconic self portraits – in particular a poignant portrait of Mapplethorpe shortly before his death from an AIDS related illness in 1989.”