Posts Tagged ‘Robert Mapplethorpe’

Photography | Huppert Curates Mapplethorpe

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Robert Mapplethorpe
Curated by Isabelle Huppert
Galerie Thaddeus Ropac
Salzburg Villa Kast, Austria
Until 26th October, 2013

Robert Mapplethorpe (Born 1946) created a vast, provocative, and powerful body of work that has established him as one of the most important twentieth century photographers, examples of whose oeuvre can be found in the collections of important museums around the globe. Diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, despite his illness, he increased his creative efforts, refining his approach and widening the scope of his work. New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major museum retrospective in 1988. That same year, he set up the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, its mission to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection. He died in 1989.

Mapplethorpe’s estate is represented by prominent galleries in North and South America, and in Europe by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, who, since 2005, in partnership with the New York based Foundation, have asked Hedi Slimane, Cindy Sherman, Robert Wilson, David Hockney and Sofia Coppola to act as guest curators and to select Mapplethorpe images for special exhibitions. Coppola’s selection was graphic, Wilson’s pure, Slimane’s in tone, rather dark. This year’s exhibition, which opened at the Villa Kast in Salzburg, Austria, last weekend is curated by legendary French actress Isabelle Huppert.

Mapplethorpe died young, and if the ten self-portraits on the biography page of the Foundation website might appear to illustrate the various stages and diverse aspects of the photographer’s adult life – the obsessions, his fixations and investigations, excluding the flowers, and allowing only a little nudity to creep in – the 100 images chosen by Huppert tell a broader story. As if studying for a part, treating her task with the devout seriousness, she explains that to her, in the particular world that Mapplethorpe made his own, everything is connected, the fontiers blurred, but that in each [image] is pure emotion and perfection of form –attributes which might easily be attributed to a great actor about his, or her, career. Including flower pictures, female and male nudes, as well as portraits in her sensitive and lyrically composed selection, the overall feeling that comes across is that Huppert at 60, having appeared in more than 90 film and television productions since 1971, who has worked closely with film directors Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Goddard and Michael Haneke, who has been nominated for and has won an endless list of awards, would nevertheless have liked – had she been born much later – to have been cast as the little girl in Lindsey Key(1985), whose far away thoughts and unstudied pose are frozen by Mapplethorpe’s camera. She could have been good as the spectral, shrouded figure in Lisa Lyon (1982). She would most certainly have shone in the role of Mapplethorpe’s muse, Patti Smith.

Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, selected by Isabelle Huppert for the exhibition include, from top
Lindsay Key, 1985
Alistair Butler, 1980
Orchid, 1986
Patti Smith, 1987
Lisa Lyon, 1982

All photographs ©Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission
Courtesy Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris / Salzburg

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Photography | Photographs, Photographs

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Sotheby’s, New York, USA
3rd April, 2012

Christie’s, New York, USA
5th April, 2012

So, these days you have no money problems.

That’s great to hear.

Sorry, I couldn’t really hear what you said… You want to do what?

To buy some photographs?

To buy a lot of photographs.

You want to create a collection.

But you know nothing about photography.

Oh, I see, that’s why you’re calling.

Uh huh. Yeah.

It’s kind of you to say so but really, I’m no expert.

OK. Perhaps I can help you, there.

Yes, you see, rather conveniently, there are a couple of auctions next week, both in New York, at Christie’s and at Sotheby’s, respectively – somewhat confusingly, each called ‘Photographs’ – in which a large quantity of work from those photographers regarded by the real experts as photography’s all time greats, is on sale.

You like the sound of that? Good.

You’ll be completely spoiled for choice. There are 350 items in the Christie’s sale, 204 at Sotheby’s.

No, no. I know you can. I understand that you can afford it. That’s not the problem. You can’t just buy everything, that’s all. It would just be crazy! Besides, I’m sure you’d prefer to be seen as a discerning sort of person – someone with a bit of taste – who doesn’t just throw their money around but on the contrary, has a keen eye for investment value.

That doesn’t bother you?

But surely, you don’t want to end up with a load of crap that you can’t offload on some other sucker, later.

Well, for one thing, in practical terms, you’ll have a fair number of duplicate prints, albeit each with different attributes: signed/unsigned, number within edition, etc. Then there’s condition to consider: excellent/very good/good/poor.

Yeah, you know some of the stuff is pretty old.

Old, you know, O-L-D. Early stuff…

Well, from my recollection, for instance: there’s a picture in the Sotheby’s sale taken by a guy by the name of Edward S Curtis. It’s called An Oasis in the Badlands. American. It’s of a Native American chief on horseback – very iconic but, in my opinion, his style often verges on the kitsch. It was photographed in 1905.

You didn’t know photography was that old? Well, here’s a surprise: it’s a hell of a lot older! The first permanent photograph was an image produced in France in 1826.

Kodak! Nooohhh! Much earlier than Kodak.

Anyway. Can I suggest you stick to one genre?

You don’t know what a genre is?

Well. Look. Let’s keep it simple. What about just buying landscape pictures? There’s tons of great stuff by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston you might like.

Yes, it’s all black and white.

You think black and white landscapes are boring. OK, there are some in colour by William Eggleston, who’s not really my cup of tea, but perhaps we should forget about landscapes.

Nudes? Yes, there are quite a few nudes. But, wouldn’t portraits be good? There’s a remakable Chuck Close, self-portrait called 5C – made from five unique, large-format, overlapping Polaroid prints – several Richard Avedon’s and some by Irving Penn, and loads of others at both venues.

Yeah, Avedon and Penn do nudes, too. Penn’s still life is amazing! A print of his Still Life with Grape and Moth, being sold by Christie’s is one of my all-time favourites. Then there’s…

Of course! Of course, nudes are certainly worth thinking about. However, how about starting to collect early modernist photography; Lásló Moholy-Nagy’s Alpenveilchen (Photogramm) will be in the Sotheby’s sale and his Scandinavia, shot in 1931 is at Christie’s. Christie’s are also selling Fire Escape, an amazing Alexander Rodchenko, photographed in 1927.

You don’t like ‘funny’ names.

No, no, nudes are certainly a possibility.

Flower pictures might be good, too, though. There’s the the Moholy-Nagy Alpenveilchen, I just mentioned – to you and me that’s a cyclamen – and Alma Levenson’s voluptuous Auratum Lily is at Sotheby’s. But there are a whole group of Robert Mapplethorpe’s flower pictures up for grabs in that sale, too.

Yes, he does do nudes.

So, if I understand you correctly, it’s just nudes, then, that you want to go for?

Er… interesting idea… and I must say, there are some very tastefully shot images of that variety by among others: Ruth Bernhard and Bill Brandt, included in both sales.

OK, yeah, I think I get it. You’d prefer more erotic stuff.

Female, I suppose?

I see. No preference. In their infinite variety, right? Big names as well as less well-known photographers – even a few with ‘funny’ names?

Well, it’s great that you’ve made a decision.

Yes, of course. It’s your money; I wouldn’t dream of telling you how to spend it. Glad I was able to help. Let me know how you get on but… er… could I ask a little favour in return?

I’m sure you’ll understand that… I shouldn’t really be seen… you know, to be associated with that sort of material. So I’d be grateful for your discretion… as a man of the cloth… I…

Photographs, from top
Sotheby’s Lot 192
Daido Moriyama How to Create a Beautiful Picture 6: Tights in Shimotakaido, 1986
Oversized, signed in pencil on the reverse, framed, printed later
Estimate $15/25,000

Christies Lot 105
Robert Mapplethorpe Back, 1986
Gelatin silver print
Signed, title, date, number 2/10 in ink and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp (on the reverse of the flush-mount)
Image: 23 x 19 1/8in. (58.5 x 48.5cm.)
Sheet/flush-mount: 24 x 20in. (61 x 50.8cm.)
Estimate $10,000 – 15,000

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Photography | Big Nudes

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Le Imaginaire du Nu
Hotel Drouot, Paris. Exhibition 27th & 28th June 2011. Sale 28th June

Nudes, especially as a subject for books, exhibitions and auctions, are big right now, especially in France. Not that the nudes themselves are huge in proportions, you understand, with the possible exception of the amazons in high stilettos in Helmut Newton’s classic, Big Nudes (1990) that is among a list of 10 books on this particular génre of photography selected for La Lettre de la Photographie by photographer and collector, Bruno Mouron, prompted, almost certainly, by the huge up coming auction and exhibition L’imaginaire du Nu at Hôtel Drouot in Paris.

Early daguerreotypes and prints will be sold back to back with photographs from the beginning and middle of the 20th century: Bill Brandt, Robert Doisneau, Horst, Krull, Man Ray, Willy Ronis and contemporary works by, among others, Araki, Bourdin, Ralph Gibson, David Hamilton, Sam Haskins, Horvat, Lindbergh, George Platt-Lynes, Jeanloup Sieff, Bert Stern and Joel Peter Witkin. The majority, as might be expected, are images of women but male nudity is also represented in pictures by, for example, Bruce of Los Angeles and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Interesting to note, though, that despite the current vogue, we’re already halfway through the year and Mapplethorpe’s Nudes 2011 calender, which includes graphic black and white images of both males and females of our species is still available from Te Neues.

Pamela Hanson, Carla Bruni, Vogue Hommes, 1994, top
Man Ray, Meret Oppenheim, 1935, below

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Swiss goes pop in Düsseldorf

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Zeitgeist & Glamour: The decades of the jet set

February 5th – May 15th, 2011, NRW Forum Düsseldorf, Germany

Diane Arbus, Eve Arnold, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Harry Benson, Guy Bourdin, Raymond Depardon, Terence Donovan, Elliott Erwitt, Ron Galella, Dennis Hopper, William Klein, Robert Mapplethorpe, Billy Name, Terry O’Neill, Bob Richardson, Jeanloup Sieff, Francesco Scavullo, David Bailey, Lord Snowdon, Bert Stern (Bert Stern’s Twiggy, VOGUE, 1967. © Bert Stern. See above)… just some of of the photographers, whose work is represented in this exhibition, many of whom were or became, alongside the glamorous subjects they followed from the Côte d’Azur, St. Moritz, Paris, London, Rome, and New York– among them, Brigitte Bardot, Jackie Kennedy, Maria Callas, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Mick Jagger, Karl Lagerfeld – jet-setters themselves.

On show are 400 photographs, never exhibited before in public, from the Swiss collector Nicola Erni that collectively capture the unique zeitgeist of the 2oth century’s Swinging 60s and early 70s – Warhol’s Factory, Studio 54, Swinging London, Blow up, Pop Art, sex, drugs and rock‘n’roll – as seen through the lens of famous portrait and fashion photographers. Individually, each of these was creating new styles of photography, developing new techniques and forms of presentation that shaped the visual culture of the era. The paparazzi (See picture above – which may well have been the product of a prior arrangement between and in the interests of both subject and photographer(s) – by Giacomo Alexis: Un gelato in faccia di Rino Barillari da Sonia Romanoff in Via Veneto, Roma, 1970. © Giacomo Alexis) are represented, too; a new breed of photographer, who took pictures of famous personalities in their private lives and sold them to whichever newspaper and magazine bid the highest.

Were you around in the 60s & 70s? What do/did you think about all this stuff?
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