MAP10049_Alistair Butler

Robert Mapplethorpe

Floral Park, USA, 1946 – Boston, USA, 1989




Robert Mapplethorpe is considered one of the most acclaimed photographers of the second half of the 20th century. His b&w photographs highlight an interest in male and female nudes, flowers, portraits of celebrities, and anonymous figures from the New York S&M scene. He produced powerful images marked by technical precision and formal rigidity, which despite their thematic breadth, point to a constant search for classically and sculpturally inspired symmetry. “I look for the perfection of form,” said Mapplethorpe. The transgressive character of his work became an essential key for the interpretation of cultural debates of the 1980s and 1990s around issues related to identity, gender, and sexuality.

Recent solo exhibitions include Robert Mapplethorpe: more than a face, Carpintaria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2023); Implicit Tensions – Mapplethorpe Now, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2019); Robert Mapplethorpe: Pictures, Museu de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2018) and The Perfect Medium, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2017). Mapplethorpe was also featured in the group shows Nunca só essa mente, nunca só esse mundo, Carpintaria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2023); American Art 1961-2001, The Walker Art Center Collections, Palazzo Strossi, Florence, Italy (2021); O Canto do Bode, Casa da Cultura da Comporta, Comporta, Portugal (2021); Art After Stonewall: 1969-1989, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, USA (2020).

Mapplethorpe’s works have been included in important public collections, such as The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA; Australian National Gallery, Canberra, Australia; Bank of America Collection, San Francisco, USA; Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, USA; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Nova York, USA; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tóquio, Japan; Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nova York, USA; MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art, Nova York, USA; National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; SFMoMA – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Reino Unido e Whitney Museum, Nova York, USA.