Thursday, 21 April 2016

ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE: THE MAGIC IN THE MUSE

Well-known for his hard-hitting provocative images, the American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989), was also an accomplished portrait photographer. According to the photographer, 'I went into photography, because it seemed like a perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today's existence.'

A significant collection of Mapplethorpe's images of musicians, artists and well-known faces from the 70's and 80's can be seen at Robert Mapplethorpe, The Magic in the Muse, at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, Co Durham - but hurry, the exhibition closes on Sunday 24th April 2016.

The large-scale graphic black and white images of the photographer's close friend and collaborator Patti Smith, plus shots of Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Iggy Pop and more, are all on loan from ARTIST ROOMS, a collection of contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland in 2008. 




Patti Smith by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1975
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation



I'll never forget seeing the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1996, with my baby in tow in a pushchair.  It was a stunning exhibition and I fell in love with his sculptural shots of Calla lilies and orchids. Sadly, I won't make the show at the splendid Bowes Museum, but I'm planning to head-up there in June, when the V&A's recent Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition opens at the venue. Pride of place, at the exhibition, will be a pair of Rayne leather and suede platform sandals, from the late 1940's, worn by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who was patron of The Bowes Museum Friends for 40 years.

If the success of The Bowes' recent Yves Saint Laurent: Style is Eternal exhibition is anything to go by, its staging of Shoes: Pleasure and Pain (11 June - 9 October 2016) will be well-worth another weekend in historic Barnard Castle.



Iggy Pop by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1981
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


Nick Marden of The Stimulators by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1980
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


I went into photography, because it seemed like a perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today's existence
Robert Mapplethorpe




Self Portrait by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1980
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from 
the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


Calla Lily, by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1987 
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation



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