Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures

Having screened both at Sundance and the Berlin Film Festivals, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s (Inside Deep Throat, The Eyes of Tammy Faye) compelling and candid documentary examines the career of one of America’s greatest and most controversial photographers.

Art Screening previously on at ACMI - Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Victoria, Australia.
From Thursday 22 September 2016 to Tuesday 11 October 2016

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures image

Published by anonymous on Thursday 18 August 2016.
Contact the publisher.

Seen through the prism of the culture wars between America’s Christian right and the National Endowment of the Arts, what emerges is a balanced and powerful document on the power of artistic expression and the devastating legacy of HIV/AIDS.

Mapplethorpe’s legacy as an artist is deftly drawn as he becomes a central player in the battle for artistic freedom amidst a deeply conservative cultural landscape and the emerging AIDS epidemic.

The openly gay Mapplethorpe cast an unblinking eye onto his own personal life, including some startling self-portraits. His photographs often portray images of his lovers naked, and at times, aroused, along with studied tableaus of sadomasochism and fetishism. These sat alongside sensual black and white photographs of flowers and commissioned portraits of the rich and famous. His work was often branded as pornography, adding fuel to the fire between the publicly funded National Endowment of the Arts and the enraged Christian moral majority. Through numerous interviews with artists, lovers and friends, a complex portrait emerges of a man possessed by blind ambition and a driving need to present an uncompromising document of his all too short time on this earth.

What he left behind however is a body of celebrated work and an essential document of an era of fertile artistic exploration and freedom.

“The controversial artist may have worked in black and white, but his life is anything but in this terrific portrait” – Peter Debruge, Variety