Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Robert Mapplethorpe...coveted portraits on exhibit in San Francisco! San Jose Museum of Art!


For locals who are fans of Robert Mapplethorpe the collection of portraits on exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art is a treasure trove to behold!

Through June 5th, approximately 100 photographic stills by Mapplethorpe - described by the curator as "timeless and intense" - are on display for up-close inspection at the gallery in downtown San Francisco.

The superb gelatin silver prints include a self portrait of the artist grasping an ornate cane (1968), as well as insightful captures of artist/musician Yoko Ono (1988), lover - rocker - Patti Smith (1975), and legendary front man for the Stooges, Iggy Pop (1981).

Robert Mapplethorpe had an eye for balance - and always lensed his subjects with flawless perfection - whether he was focused on still lifes, the human figure, or portraits (that were of special interest to the talented artist in the early days of his budding career).

The Mapplethorpe's portraitures featured in the dazzling exhibition at the San Jose Museum are quite a departure from the artist's controversial homoerotic nudes.

These traditional portraits, for example, reveal a sense of beauty rarely shared by his contemporaries - which is why the collection here sets him apart - and distinguishes the photographer as one of the great artistic visionaries of this century.

Some of the pieces were commissioned for wealthy patrons, while others represent a cross-section of friends and fellow artists he crossed paths with, who became a part of his short life (Mapplethorpe died at age 42).

Mapplethorpe's artistic leanings were deeply-rooted in the cultural scene of New York in the late 1970s and 1980's, and subsequently, reflect that era exquisitely.

The exhibition is mostly comprised of black-and-white photographs of artists, art dealers, writers, musicians, designers, dancers, actors, and legends such as William Burroughs, Truman Capote, Glenn Close, Marianne Faithfull, Richard Gere, Keith Haring, David Hockney, Grace Jones, Lisette Model, Alice Neel, Yoko Ono, Paloma Picasso, Iggy Pop, Isabella Rossellini, Ed Ruscha, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Andy Warhol.

Many of the photographs are on loan from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation based in New York.

Guest curator Gordon Baldwin underscored in his introduction to the exhibit that these portraits document a key moment in New York life and in the LGBT community:

"Mapplethorpe's portraits are representative of New York at a particularly vibrant, prosperous, and expansive moment in its history, when it was the undisputed center of the art world, and before it experienced the full impact of the AIDS epidemic."

This dazzling comprehensive display was organized by the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Major sponsors include the Helene and Lou Galen Exhibition Fund and the Faye and Herman Sarkowsky Exhibition Fund.

Catch the Mapplethorpe retrospective, if you can, eh?


Mrs. John Lennon