- Hardcover: 220 pages
- Publisher: Arena Editions (December 30, 1899)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1892041162
- ISBN-13: 978-1892041166
- Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1 x 11.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,801,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pictures: Robert Mapplethorpe Hardcover – December 30, 1899
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From Library Journal
Mapplethorpe, whose name is now synonymous with controversy, was renowned for his refined aesthetic and his willingness to confront taboos. In contrast to his classical portraits, nudes, and still lifes, his sex photographs and the reactions they engendered have been much discussed but less frequently seen. Edited and designed by Levas, this compilation of images (made between 1976 and 1980) showcases 103 beautifully reproduced duotone plates and demonstrates Mapplethorpe's intimate, personal vision of homosexuality and fetishism. Interview editor Ingrid Sischy provides a brief introductory essay that concisely contextualizes the work, explaining that while they may be shocking the photos are not pornographic. "Explicit pictures of homosexual sex don't make up a huge proportion of his work, but they are its underbelly." This handsome book is a welcome addition to the 100 books and articles listed in its bibliography, offering valuable documentation of an important artist. Highly recommended for specialized collections.AJames E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The photographs range from noncontroversial portraits to the extremes of S & M. Some of these images will shock; others (Baby Larry) you may find silly. A couple of them may make you laugh. (The infamous self-portrait of Mapplethorpe, for example, with the riding crop comes to mind.)
Mapplethorpe detested the term "erotic art." He believed that art was either art or it was not. The photographs certainly are beautifully lit and formally composed. Many of the models were his friends and it is obvious that no one was photograhed against his will. (There is only one photograph of a woman among the shots.) In addition to the quotations from Mapplethorpe, Ingrid Sischy has written a thoughtful introduction to the photographs. Since Mapplethorpe did most of these photographs in the 70's and early 80's, we have to wonder how many of these men died of AIDS. Sischy says so well: "They [the photographs] articulate the hope, the craziness, the sense of emerging freedom, the battles of self-esteem, the fight to be proud of one's love. . . Although Mapplethorpe couldn't have anticipated this, as it turns out his photographs have also become an eloquent record of loss."
Certainly no one before or since Mapplethorpe has done this kind of photography. We can only imagine the thousands of images he would have given the world by now, had he lived.
The images themselves are, in the main, sex pictures; S&M pictures; and a few portraits. The sex pictures are quite grotesque, concentrating as they do on the pain, blood, urine, bondage and so on. Whether you'll enjoy these depends on your view of the subject. Personally, I didn't find them uplifting or illuminating. The models were sullen, looked unhappy, or downright sad: but then I suppose if your... has been nailed to a plank you're entitled to be a little shaken!
The few portraits included in this volume were entirely unpleasing, and not representative of Mapplethorpe's better work. They offered no real insight ot the subjects, who remained cold and aloof, detached it seems from the process of making art.
This is a collection of many of Mapplethorpe's more 'sensational' and 'shocking' images. Whether you are affronted or not they do deserve inspection, if only to see what the 'conservatives' tried to ban. You might actually feel repulsed and agree that these pictures are not art but pornography.
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The book itself is printed with wonderful photographic sharpness and clarity to ensure the reader of every detail. Huge photo prints and commentary by Mapplethorpe himself make this a wonderful addition to any person who relishes erotic photography and artforms. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is partial to his works rather than to someone who was recently introduced.