Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs have provoked debate. They have been the target of criticism and censorship. They have also been praised around the world with celebrated exhibitions in some of the most prestigious art institutions. ARoS Aarhus Art Museum now presents more than 180 photographs by one of the greatest masters of the art of photography.
The exhibition ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE – ON THE EDGE shows famous faces, sculptural bodies, and erotic stories from the New York underground scene. It examines issues that are still very much relevant and emphasizes the fact that Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) even today occupies a unique position on the international art scene.
’We are extremely proud to be able to present such a large selection of Mapplethorpe´s photographs at ARoS. His art tells us an important story about a time of sexual liberation and about homosexuality’s move away from being a subculture. It is also about an artistic commitment to absolute freedom. His stories affect us and are still extremely relevant today,’ says museum director Erlend G. Høyersten, ARoS.
Featuring 182 photographs, ROBERT MAPPELTHORPE – ON THE EDGE displays self-portraits, portraits of well-known people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Andy Warhol, and Louise Bourgeois and the rock icon Patti Smith who was Mapplethorpe’s muse and soul mate. The exhibition also shows a range of Mapplethorpe’s erotic photographs, in which he occasionally walks the fine line between art photography and what some have considered pornography.
American Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was a product of his time. In the summer of 1967, he left his childhood home in Queens and moved to Brooklyn, New York. He became part of the creative New York community of the 1970s and 1980s, which was characterized by rebellion, sexual revolution and freedom fights, but also by materialism and glamour. As a young budding artist he wished to break with ruling social norms, and he was not afraid to expose taboo subjects. He wanted to challenge his audience, and he would often push things to extremes. Though the artist always sought to capture precision in his art, his later works greatly emphasize his devotion to perfection in form and light. Robert Mapplethorpe died of AIDS in 1989 only 42 years old.
On the Edge
Jun 17th – Oct 30th, 2016