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Robert Mapplethorpe : Lisa + Milton + Thomas & Ken
Robert Mapplethorpe
Lisa + Milton + Thomas & Ken
Lola Mansfield, May 26, 2008
Robert Mapplethorpe_Lisa Lyon, 1981
Robert Mapplethorpe_Lisa Lyon, 1981
 
Mapplethorpe produced a consistent body of work that strove for balance and perfection and established him in the top rank of twentieth-century artists. In 1987 he established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research and finance projects in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection. Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presents an exhibition by Robert Mapplethorpe that brings together the portraits of four of his most important models, Lisa, Milton, Thomas and Ken. The oeuvre of the American artist has become known the world over through his iconic images of black and white nudes, sensual flowers and portraits of celebrities and friends.

Robert Mapplethorpe_Patti Smith
Robert Mapplethorpe_Patti Smith
 
Lisa Lyon, who won the 1979 First Women's World Bodybuilding Championship, was Mapplethorpe's most photographed female model, culminating in the publication of a seminal book Lady: Lisa Lyon (1983). Through this extensive body of work, Mapplethorpe not only creates formally beautiful studies of the human form, but also calls into question the gender roles and female stereotypes of the 1980s. Mapplethorpe was fascinated by the nude black man rendering many images of Milton's, Thomas's and Ken's muscular bodies in poses reminiscent of sculpture from classical antiquity (subject of the joint exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition, organized by the Guggenheim Foundation, New York and the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). In many images, Thomas and Ken clearly convey the Eros that informs Mannerist art of the 16th century. The portraits of these three men exemplify the other studies of statuesque male and female bodies; concentrating on contours, tones, darkness and light, making them at once precise and erotic. Milton Moore, or Mr. Polyester, as he became known after the famous photograph Man in Polyester Suit (1980), was his lover and model.

Robert Mapplethorpe_Ada
Robert Mapplethorpe_Ada
 
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