Robert Mapplethorpe

1946–1989

Robert Mapplethorpe, ‘Jim, Sausalito’ 1977
Jim, Sausalito 1977
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
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Biography

Robert Mapplethorpe (; November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) was an American photographer, known for his sensitive yet blunt treatment of controversial subject-matter in the large-scale, highly stylized black and white medium of photography. His work featured an array of subjects, including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, self-portraits and still-life images of flowers. His most controversial work is that of the underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s of New York City. The homoeroticism of this work fuelled a national debate over the public funding of controversial artwork.

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Artworks

Artist as subject

Features

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The Photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe

From portraits of iconic figures in the art and music world to powerful and moving self-portraits

Blog

ARTIST ROOMS blog: Dealing with Obscenity

Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Exhibitions Assistant Jen Loffman writes about ways of approaching controversial works in exhibition planning
Blog

ARTIST ROOMS blog: Robert Mapplethorpe and 21st Century Audiences

Frank Wasser writes about his experience guiding groups through displays at Tate’s London galleries and how Robert Mapplethorpe’s ...

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Work of the week: Bob Love by Robert Mapplethorpe

As Valentine’s Day arrives again, as an alternative to roses and heart-shaped balloons let’s explore an antidote of ...

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Robert Mapplethorpe photographs start Scottish tour

Sixteen portraits by the American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe have gone on show in a new arts venue recently saved from ...

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