Robert Mapplethorpe at the Guggenheim
The Guggenheim Museum of New York brings the opportunity to explore the work of one of the most critically acclaimed yet controversial artists of the late 20th century: Robert Mapplethorpe. Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now brings together over eighty works from the Guggenheim’s rich collection of Mapplethorpe holdings, including the artist’s early Polaroids, depictions of the New York S&M scene, artist and celebrity friends, male and female nudes, flowers, and self-portraits.
In 1993, the Guggenheim received a generous gift of approximately two hundred photographs and unique objects from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, initiating the museum’s photography collection. Today, the Guggenheim celebrates the sustained legacy of the artist’s work with a yearlong exhibition program conceived in two sequential parts and presented in the museum’s Mapplethorpe Gallery on Tower Level 4. Mapplethorpe is widely known for daring imagery that deliberately transgresses social mores, and for the censorship debates that transpired around his work in the United States during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yet the driving force behind his artistic ethos was an obsession with perfection that he brought to bear on his approach to each of his subjects.