Robert Mapplethorpe at 70. Hard to picture it. He seems eternally stuck in time as a young buck, a leather-clad sex god, a counterculture hero, and a permanent figure of ’70s and ’80s pop landscape. But, had he lived, he would be 70 years old today. And seventy is NOT REALLY that old anymore, either. He could conceivably still be producing relevant work. He could still be shocking the masses, and taking photography to new artistic levels. Crazy to think about! And what sad loss for all of us!
The WoW doc Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures explored his life with surgical precision. It’s playing at the DOC NYC this Thursday (Nov 10th) and Saturday (Nov 12th), with upcoming screenings in Amsterdam (Nov 16, 18, 21, 22, and 24 at the International Documentary Film Festival) and Havana, Cuba (which should be REALLY FUN)(Dates to come).
If you haven’t had chance to check it out, here’s the trailer…
Robert Mapplethorpe emerged from the vibrant 1970s New York art scene where he bonded with Patti Smith and partnered with art collector Sam Wagstaff. Mapplethorpe’s photography spanned explicit gay sadomasochistic sex, but also stunning pictures of flowers. In 1989, the year he died of AIDS, he was denounced in Congress by Senator Jesse Helms. Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) don’t hold back in confronting Mapplethorpe’s personal complexities or public provocations. Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films.
Picos the groundbreaking photographer below.