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.
Following the film we will be hosting LGBTQ Censorship in Art, Then and Now
, a panel discussion with industry experts as they discuss censorship in LGBTQ art as part of our Illuminating Ideas
Luminato’s 2019 film series is curated in partnership with Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. This film has been programmed by Myrocia Watamaniuk, Senior International Programmer, Hot Docs Festival.