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Robert Mapplethorpe Self-Portrait

Artist
Robert Mapplethorpe, 04 Nov 1946 - 09 Mar 1989
Sitter
Robert Mapplethorpe, 04 Nov 1946 - 09 Mar 1989
Date
1988
Type
Photograph
Medium
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Sheet: 61 x 50.8cm (24 x 20")
Frame: 83.8 x 71.1cm (33 x 28")
Credit Line
Owner: Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Restrictions & Rights
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission
Object number
EXH.AN.81
Exhibition Label
Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe died of AIDS in 1989. The somber, dark contrast of this 1988 self-portrait with the youthful innocence and sexual playfulness of his 1975 self-portrait (seen elsewhere in this exhibition) could not be more marked. Although this image serves as a memorial and memento mori, Mapplethorpe is playful and rebellious to the last. Knowing how AIDS victims were demonized-not least because of the homoeroticism that Mapplethorpe celebrated in his work and life-Mapplethorpe poses as death in order to defy his critics. Here, he says, I will take on everything you accuse me of and turn it back to you in a work of art. Formally, the picture has the gravity of Mapplethorpe's portrait style while it also flirts with the dark side of his reputation: Mapplethorpe as devil, a legend that has only grown since his death.
Data Source
Catalog of American Portraits
See more items in
Catalog of American Portraits