Robert Mapplethorpe

Smutty

1982

Medium
Photograph, gelatin silver print on paper
Dimensions
Support: 470 x 375 mm
frame: 744 x 621 x 38 mm
Acquisition
ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Reference
AR00189

Online caption

Mapplethorpe had previously photographed this androgynous-looking young man, nicknamed ‘Smutty’, in 1980. This later image shows him in a more confident pose - standing with his body in profile, casually leaning his left arm against the wall and his right resting on his hip. The curvature of his arms focuses attention on a key ring of rabbit’s feet (a traditional good luck charm), hanging from his belt. However, his leather trousers and waistcoat, tattoos, and studded wristbands allude to a darker side, and raise the question as to what the good luck is for. His head is turned to look directly at the camera (and consequently the viewer) in a commanding and almost inviting way.