Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Art and Photography: Robert and Edward Mapplethorpe
I just finished watching an HBO documentary of the life of reverred and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe-Looking at the Picture. In this 60 minutes documentary, his younger brother Edward also a photographer worked for him as his assistant. Robert said there should only be one Mapplethorpe, so Edward has to change his name to his mother's name-Maxey.
Edward was born and raised in New York. He began his solo career in 1990 under the pseudonym Edward Maxey and was quickly acclaimed for his luminous nudes, portraits, and still lives that were evocative of his older and controversial brother, Robert Mapplethorpe. However, it was Edward's innovative work beyond the controlled environment of the studio (Undercurrents, 1992-94) that first distinguished him as a unique talent in bridging the gap between photography and abstract painting.
E. Mapplethorpe continued to incorporate a painterly aesthetic in a number of subsequent thematic projects including: Stars and Stripes (1994), Transmographs (2000), Compositions (2002) and HAIR Transfer (2004). In 2004, Mr. Edward Mapplethorpe collaborated with New York City based orchestra EOS and produced a limited edition portfolio of images capturing musicians in a whirlwind of movement as they performed selected pieces from their repertoire. This adaptation of the cageian concept of integrating chance and time into the creative process became another integral aspect of E. Mapplethorpe's own artistic practice.
His older brother Robert died with Aids in 1989. Edward took care of him. Edward has now reclaimed the Mapplethorpe name.
After viewing the documentary, I remember I have a coffee table book on the famous photographs of Robert. I purchased this book about 25 years ago and It took some time finding it in my more than 80 collection of art books and paintings. Today, I am posting two samples of Robert's male nude photo(see above). Others nude photos of Robert are almost pornographic thus I can not post it in this blog. Here's a short video on Robert Mapplethorpe obsession for beauty.
Is this Art or Pornography? I like to hear of your answer, just write A or P!