Reviews - What do customers think about Mapplethorpe?
Mapplethorpe endures Jun 1, 2008
Poor Robert Mapplethorpe. He had no idea the cauldron he was brewing when he picked up a camera in the early 1970s and started taking pictures. The art world, and public funding for the arts in America, is completely different because of his work. His work has been accused of (and sometimes convicted for) being obscene. So what? Mapplethorpe made art and porn one and the same thing. That is his greatest contribution to American artistry. This book has a good representation of his work, although it doesn't have all the material I like by him. For me, the most erotic material he produced was his photographs of the sex organs of plants -- i.e., flowers. That work is startling. You can now google the word "Mapplethorpe" and get some of the photographs that caused activists who knew nothing about art, but knew what was moral, to successfully end public funding for the arts. The controversy seems overblown now, but a good look at Mapplethorpe's pictures is enough to verify that he is still cutting edge and original.
A good collection showing a range of photo types. Oct 22, 2001
This book is LARGE! Very large. It is approximately 12" square, like a vinyl LP record, and comes in a tough card outer sleeve or box, thus keeping the actual book itself free from damage. I don't know exactly how much it weighs, but I suspect that it must be 3-4 Kg, so if you order it warn your postman! The images are all B&W.
It is also large in terms of content, there being some 600-odd images presented. There is an intoxicating range of photographs spreading over many years of Mapplethorpe's work and many genres. I have always found his flower portraits the most inspiring and they are here in plenty although regrettably none in colour. Obviously there also the formal portraits, the pictures of large male genitalia, pictures of Patti Smith (who is she, anyway?), a large number of self portraits, and many others.
This is NOT a book of sex images although there are few that are 'close to the mark', rather a collection of more of Mapplethorpe's more artistic ventures. Of all, I was much struck by the simple (polaroid) image of a young man on page 25, simple called "Untitled, 1974".
There is a superb essay by Arthur C. Danto explaining much of the controversy surrounding this photographer, along with a very full catalogue of Mapplethorpe's work, his books, exhibitions, and a bibliography of those who have written about or included his works.
Very good value for money if you are a fan.
a well-rounded group Oct 4, 2001
Admitting that I've never seen any of Mapplethorpe's work up close and personal I'll none the less say that the prints are beautiful. The huge format gives the photos plenty of room to breathe, as is sometimes a problem in art books. I spent a good while seeking a collection that included all of his favorite subject matter, both the pretty and the disturbing, and this one didn't disappoint. If you are too weak of stomach for some of the admittedly harsh erotic stuff (which includes mostly that of the "homo-" variety) then buy a collection of his flowers and women, but all of his work makes much more sense in context.
Worth the expense but a bit disappointing Jul 14, 2000
While this handsome, exceptionally made collection of Mapplethorpe photography is certainly worth its cost, the editors have done a disservice to the artist by eliminating the framing effects Mapplethorpe created to off-set his own work, and thus sometimes robbing individual images of their ultimately intended impact. Worse still, these particular reproductions generally eliminate the sepia, blue-ish, or silvery tones of the original works and consequently misrepresent the artist's intent. Those who are established admires of Mapplethorpe will be impressed by this book; those who have not previously seen his work, however, will probably wonder what all the artistic fuss was about.
Respectful treatment of a great artist Apr 20, 2000
A stunning monograph on one of America's greatest artists beautifully produced and bound by Random House. Classical form with revolutionary subject matter (eg, MAN IN POLYESTER SUIT,1980), whether a simple portrait of ROY COHN, or BRUCE CHATWIN, or a series on LISA LYON or the luminous, exquisite portrait of FRANCESCA THYSSEY 1981, or COCK 1982, or EGGPLANT, 1985, light and shadow (he appears to have worked exclusively in black and white)and composition are masterful and reveal Mr Mapplethorpe as a visionary artist. Athur C. Danto provides a useful and insightful analysis of Mr Mapplethorpe's contribution to the art, including the feminist perspective on his work as well as consideration of the problematic area of the use of children as subjects. A rewarding legacy of a great artist at a very reasonable price.