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In an age immune to shock, the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe can still cause a stir. Controversial and unapologetic, Mapplethorpe’s images of male gay sex, nudity and sadomasochism pushed contemporary art towards what some museum directors, art dealers and Senator Jesse Helms, labeled pornography. Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato delve into the prolific work that challenged the definitions of censorship and the life of the artist behind the controversy. From his formative relationship with Patti Smith to his fractious rapport with Andy Warhol, his lovers, muses, friends and family open up about Mapplethorpe’s true intentions. With unparalleled access to his archive, this striking account of a career cut short by AIDS in 1989 turns up not only the infamous pictures, but the stunning floral and portraiture work of a seminal modern artist. Shut down to sold out, Mapplethorpe’s photography shows and life alike are fascinatingly reframed.
Photo: (c) Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.
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Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Langdon F. Page
David Benjamin Steinberg
Film Maufacturers, World of Wonder Productions, HBO Documentary Films
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Huy Truong, Mario Panagiotopoulos