BWGallerist

Preview: Robert Mapplethorpe, Curated by Roe Ethridge, Gladstone Gallery, NYC

In Gallery on February 12, 2018 at 11:00 am

Robert Mapplethorpe

In the second half of the 20th Century, there were few artists, photographers or otherwise, who made cast as controversial and memorable a figure as Robert Mapplethorpe. With the help of artist Roe Ethridge, Gladstone Gallery will be showing gallery-goers exactly why this March.

This marks the gallery’s first solo presentation as the New York representative of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Barbara Gladstone showed his work once before when she published the seminal Flowers portfolio in the early 1980s. Ethridge brings his own perspective as a contemporary artist who works in the same genres of portraiture and still life that are touchstones of Mapplethorpe’s well-known oeuvre. Drawn from the extensive archive of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Ethridge has selected both iconic images-including self-portraits, flowers, and scenes of frank sexual provocation-and those exhibited for the first time to evoke his own experience of understanding the breadth of Mapplethorpe’s mastery of process and composition. This show offers a compelling new look at Mapplethorpe’s distinctive practice: rather than focusing on a specific time or subject, it explores less familiar images and themes that highlight the innovation of his work, still astonishing almost three decades after his death.

Ethridge’s take on a figure who has loomed large since he began studying the medium, highlights Mapplethorpe’s focus on classical and baroque, intimate and public, and restraint and licentiousness. Ethridge states – “Mapplethorpe didn’t make pictures of daily life; his daily life was making pictures.” He approached the body of work with an eye to contextualizing iconic poses and erotically-charged compositions of Mapplethorpe’s friends, lovers, and the world around him within a larger scope of his aesthetic interests and perceptive vision. Precisely posed photographs of his lover, Milton Moore, are accompanied by more candid portraits of Moore’s niece and nephew-a nod to the intimate familiarity Mapplethorpe shared with many of his subjects. Ethridge’s presentation reveals mannerist expressions, unexpected subjects, and humorous moments: Patti Smith’s entranced gaze with prophetic vision, the televisual appeal of actress Morgan Fairchild, and the shock of Baby Larry, all encompass Mapplethorpe’s incisive eye for beauty and perversity.

The exclusive Mapplethorpe display opens to visitors publicly on March 3rd and concludes April 14th, 2018.

For More Information: Gladstone Gallery

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