Some Womenexplores female beauty in many incarnations, beauty both idealized and externalized. It brings together eighty-six of Mapplethorpe's finest images - a balance of his luminous nudes, fashion shots, and portraits. The women included come from every age group and rnge from the unfamiliar to the notable. Isabella Rossellini, Grace Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Yoko Ono, Brooke Shields, Cyndi Lauper, Melanie Griffith, Susan Sarandon, and Mapplethorpe's close friend Patti Smith are among the numerous celebrities who participated. Equally arresting are the lesser known: fellow artists, friends, favorite models, and children. Some Women reveals the full extent of Mapplethorpe's mastery of black-and-white photography and his gift as a portraitist.
In her introduction, Joan Didion probes the relationship between the artist and his subject, observing that "there was always about Robert Mapplethorpe an astonishing convergence of quite traditional romantic impulses There was the romance of the apparently conventional. There was the romance of art for its own sake" Some Women is the work of an assured photographer. It is an essential part of Robert Mapplethorpe's legacy.
Robert Mapplethorpe was born in New York in 1946 and received a B.F.A. from the Pratt Institute in 1970; he died in March 1989. His portraits, self-portraits, and photographs of nudes, sculptured objects, flowers, and still lifes have had an undeniable impact on the art world. In 1988 he achieved the greatest recognition of any photographer of the past decade in two major independent retrospectives: at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.
Mapplethorpe's photographs have appeared in nearly two hundred solo and group exhibitions and hang in major collections worldwide. His publications include Lady: Lisa Lyon(1983)Certain People(1985)Black Book(1986) Robert Mapplethorpe (1988)and Flowers (1990)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was disappointed by the 86 images of nudes, fashion shots, and portraits in this book. Although they are technically wonderful, well-lit, and beautiful, they lack a good grasp of the inner reality of the subjects. The contrast between this book and his remarkable work in Lady: Lisa Lyon and Flower could not have been greater. This book contains modest nudity of the sort that would require an R rating for a motion picture. None of the challenging images that made Mr. Mapplethorpe famous are present here. In the annotation by Joan Dideon, Mr. Mapplethorpe is quoted as saying 'You don't know why it's happening, but it's happening.' Too little was happening in most of these images. The exceptions were the girls, who clearly expressed their personalities in an unguarded way. Most of the models are 'well known, figures of considerable celebrity or fashion or achievement.' As such, 'they are professional women, performers before the camera.' I think that as such, they were able to show just what they wished to reveal about themselves. So you get a mask, rather than a person. Mr. Mapplethorpe says about himself that his work is 'very symmetrical.' I agree, and while that works well with his flower portraits (in Flowers) that symmetry just seems a little dull here to me. Ms. Dideon also points out that 'the idealization here is never of the present.' Certainly, you will see that he is inspired by classical Greek and Roman ideas of female beauty. Here are my favorites: Lydia Cheng, 1985; Sonia Resika, 1988 (p. 18); Brit Hammer, 1988; Lara Harris, 1987 (p. 27); Isabella Rossellini, 1988 (p. 33); Caroline Herrera, 1988; Alexandra Ellis, 1988; Blake Finkelson, 1988; Eva Amurri, 1988 (p. 58); Susan Sarandon and Eva Amurri, 1988; Brooke Shields, 1988 (p. 73); Stella Goodall, 1984; Diandre Douglas, 1988; and Dolphine Neil-Jones, 1987. As you can see the timing of these images is very similar, so you get a compressed sense of female beauty reflecting a moment in history. In a way, it's like a candid snapshot of beauty, rather than a cultural panorama. After you finish this book, think about another thing Mr. Mapplethorpe said, 'I'm looking for the unexpected.' Where can you find and use the unexpected to expand your vision? Stretch to the limits of imagination, rather than being bound by the vanity of the ego. Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution