's blog covering community artists, gallery shows, and the whereabouts of young entrepreneurs and artistic talents from NY, LA, London, Paris, the world.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Formative Years


The Roger Mapplethorpe Polaroid exhibit at the Whitney is a story of growth. Long before Mapplethorpe was an icon of shock and rebellion in the late 70’s and 80’s, he was learning his craft. His weapon of choice was the Polaroid camera and his subject matter ranged from the boring to explicit.

You can see his craft visually develop. From mind-numbingly dull photographs at the start of the first wall he moves onto interesting faces, alarming objects, and oddities by the end of it.

The second wall shows Mapplethorpe turning his camera onto the dark world pivotal to his life, his still ambivalent homosexuality, and he does so with hunger. His fanaticism is evident: his subjects are numerous, he has begun experimenting: using new lighting techniques to create moods and something that will become a trend, taking several photos to tell one story. His self-portraits are now bold and unsettling, a striking difference from the cool art school self-portrait that starts the exhibit.

On the third wall five years have passed since he started shooting. Mapplethorpe has found his voice. The work is mature and polished and the photos are artful and disarming. He has control over the camera and the pictures no longer reek of doubt and insecurity. Through these Polaroids we not only see an artist in his formative years, but a young man coming to terms with himself. His rapacious observative eyes will not go on unnoticed any longer.

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Blogger Tamara said...

Ooooh wish I was there to see this show.

August 4, 2008 at 3:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tamara,
I saw you're interested in Mapplethorpe photos. I'm the owner of the Polaroid on cover of "Mapplethorpe Polaroids" and also used for the Exibition at the Withney Museum.
If you're interested in it I'm selling it.

my email

Anyway thanks

December 3, 2008 at 6:40 AM  
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