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Mapplethorpe: A Biography
     

Mapplethorpe: A Biography

5.0 1
by Patricia Morrisroe
 

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The brilliant photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) was one of the most infamous figures of the contemporary art world. Patricia Morrisroe, drawing on the numerous interviews she conducted with him and those who know him, has written a remarkable biography that reveals a life even more daring than his art.

Overview

The brilliant photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) was one of the most infamous figures of the contemporary art world. Patricia Morrisroe, drawing on the numerous interviews she conducted with him and those who know him, has written a remarkable biography that reveals a life even more daring than his art.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The late photographer-provocateur, who died from AIDS-related illness in 1989, chose Morrisroe, a frequent contributor to New York magazine, as his biographer. The result is a deeply sympathetic portrait of one of the most controversial artists of the 20th century. His work offsets with luminous elegance and compositional rigor its sometimes shocking content: not only absurdly lush blossoms and haughty socialites but also male nudes and explicit sadomasochistic scenes that reflected his own obsessive forays into the Manhattan underworld. The book explores his rise in the vital art world of 1970s Manhattan as well as his bond with rocker Patti Smith, whom Dali described as ``a Gothic crow''; his sometimes loving, sometimes mutually exploitative relationship with his lover and patron, Sam Wagstaff; and the moving coincidence of his greatest critical successes occurring with the insidious and slow depredations of his illness. Although one sometimes longs for the nuanced appreciation of his work that an art historian would have offered, Morrisroe admirably balances frankness with sympathy in this memorable book. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC and QPB selections. (June)
Library Journal
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-89) gained his greatest fame when a retrospective of his works led to obscenity charges against Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center. But even while he defied the art world with graphic photographs revealing his deepest sexual fantasies, Mapplethorpe was acclaimed for his celebrity portraits and flower images. Six months before his death from AIDS, the highly controversial photographer selected Morrisroe, a feature writer for New York and the New York Times, among other publications, to document his life. Whereas Jack Fritscher's candid memoir, Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera (LJ 10/1/94), is largely drawn from personal reminiscence and is more narrowly focused, Morrisroe's compelling work is based on interviews with Mapplethorpe himself as well as hundreds of family members, lovers, and colleagues. Morrisroe provides intimate, often painful, details of his rigid Catholic upbringing, the sexual obsessions that drove him to the the gay S-M scene, and his intense relationships with rock singer Patti Smith and aristocratic lover Sam Wagstaff. Given the continuing prominence of arts funding and censorship issues, this definitive biography is strongly recommended for most collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/95.]-Joan Levin, MLS, Chicago

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306807664
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
04/01/1997
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Morrisroe has writen for many publications, including New York magazine, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and the London Sunday Times Magazine. She lives in New York City.

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Mapplethorpe 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Mapplethorpe clearly lived the better of his adult life on the EDGE! This is a riveting bio, He acted on the primal urge from the leftside of his mind.He had along the line a realization of how extreme sexuality and intercourse could be.Those parts of the book I cannot say will appeal to all readers, if so then probably out of morbid curiosity--The book shows the conflicts of the time, It is well written but at least to me says that he is a relentless individual--remarkable imagemaker BUT a man whose life decisions are somehow unfathomable--OK Well at least he had consenting people. If he realised the capabilities of form, and the extremity of the body, then it is sadly that he comes to see his own body deteriorate. i hate to believe that one must sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of art. If he photographed only part of his life--then even he came to conclude that it had been a kind of hell--but after all what is life if not lived to its potential?