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Robert Mapplethorpe’s legacy is rich and complicated, triggering controversy, polarizing critics, and providing inspiration and new pathways for many artists who followed him. Driven by his desire for fame, Mapplethorpe taught himself about the history of art, how to run a studio, how to network, and how to keep the public interested in him. At the same time, he honed a distinctive individual vision based on craftsmanship and an aesthetic of classical grace. One of the most influential and controversial artists of his time, today Mapplethorpe stands as an example to emerging photographers who continue to experiment with the boundaries of acceptability and concepts of the beautiful. His life and work continue to reward examination, taking on new relevance with shifting social and artistic concerns.
This book is a fascinating introduction to Mapplethorpe’s career and legacy and five in-depth essays on sexuality and identity, all accompanied by a rich selection of illustrations covering the remarkable range of Mapplethorpe’s photographic work. Additional resources include the artist’s vast exhibition history, an illustrated chronology of his life and work, and a useful bibliography.
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