Overview

I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today’s existence.

 

The American artist Robert Mapplethorpe made a name for himself in the New York art scene in the 1970s by turning his lens to the gay scene and by combining a classical aesthetic with violent eroticism, producing striking and visceral images. 

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Biography

Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it is made.

Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens, New York. In 1963, he enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials and mixed-media collages. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 from artist and filmmaker Sandy Daley and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into his collages, saying 'it was more honest.'

 

In the late 1970s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S&M scene. The resulting photographs were both shocking for...