Join the Bitchfest >>

Robert Mapplethorpe

What are your opinions on his artwork and legacy? i love his work

interesting life to say the least
replies 90Dec 2, 2017 6:32 PM +00:00

Thomas and Dovanna
replies 1Dec 2, 2017 6:41 PM +00:00

He was marvelous!

replies 2Dec 2, 2017 6:42 PM +00:00

Gross racist dinge queen!! Glorified pornography photographer!

replies 3Dec 2, 2017 6:49 PM +00:00

He took photos of Arnold.
replies 4Dec 2, 2017 6:52 PM +00:00

He was talented and creative but also obviously partially unhinged. One of those push-the-envelope neurotics.
replies 5Dec 2, 2017 6:58 PM +00:00

Don't ask.
replies 6Dec 2, 2017 7:00 PM +00:00

None of his work is interesting nor does it stand any test of time. He was a softcore pornographer.

replies 7Dec 2, 2017 7:02 PM +00:00

I LOVE Patti Smith. But Mapplethorpe? Eh... She exaggerated his greatness and influence. Like the previous poster said, he was a softcore pornographer. She loved him. I get it. But he wasn't all that.

replies 8Dec 2, 2017 7:05 PM +00:00

Oh r6, that is so disgusting!

replies 9Dec 2, 2017 7:08 PM +00:00

At his most beautiful. He did some good, possibly great, work outside of soft pornography.
--Unclutch, Pearl
replies 10Dec 2, 2017 7:19 PM +00:00

Owes his career to big black cocks. And artsy fartsy lighting.

replies 11Dec 2, 2017 7:21 PM +00:00


--Jesse Helms, Confederate flag fan
replies 12Dec 2, 2017 7:42 PM +00:00

You sound like a bitter Betty, R11.

replies 13Dec 2, 2017 7:46 PM +00:00

He was part of a secret circle of rich artsy types in NYC that had dark parties in Upper East Side townhouses which featured scat, drugs, and Satanism.

replies 14Dec 2, 2017 7:48 PM +00:00

Sounds like a poo shoes accusation.

replies 15Dec 2, 2017 7:53 PM +00:00

^^^it does, but in this case it’s true.

--Not her
replies 16Dec 2, 2017 7:55 PM +00:00

He shot some nice album covers, in addition to the well-known Patti Smith ones
replies 17Dec 2, 2017 7:55 PM +00:00

Gross man. He and Patti Smith bonded over their mutual lust for social climbing and fame and starfucking. He finally found a rich older benefactor who paid for everything and allowed him to indulge his vices and peccadilloes in whichever way he pleased...mind you, now that I'm writing this, isn't that what we all kind of want?

So forget his "art" (read Patti's autobio and you'll be nauseated at their pretentiousness and phoniness), let's tip our hats to his gold-digging; the man obviously wielded a very irresistible shovel.

replies 18Dec 2, 2017 7:59 PM +00:00

His work is forgettable. Even when he’s trying to say something with it, it’s a one-shot deal.

replies 19Dec 2, 2017 8:04 PM +00:00

Mapplethorpe was a racist bigot. Fuck him.

replies 20Dec 2, 2017 8:27 PM +00:00

He was a 'documenter'. Not an artist.

His great images comes from documenting great things or people.

replies 21Dec 2, 2017 8:37 PM +00:00

He'd be in jail today. Some of his photos constitute child pornography.

replies 22Dec 2, 2017 9:48 PM +00:00

his study of flowers was magnificent.

so there.

replies 23Dec 2, 2017 10:07 PM +00:00

I'm surprised that there are so many negative appraisals here

replies 24Dec 2, 2017 10:15 PM +00:00

Kitsch, and nothing more.

Like a toddler saying "poo poo" because it gets a reaction from adults.

replies 25Dec 2, 2017 10:18 PM +00:00

replies 26Dec 2, 2017 10:31 PM +00:00

I like that one.

replies 27Dec 2, 2017 10:35 PM +00:00

Dear lord in heaven, r16! If not the moms, who will advocate for our precious tailed children so desperately in need of treatment? Who?

Prayers going up for this dear soul.

--Concerned Caudal-Appendage-Surgery Team Mom
replies 28Dec 2, 2017 10:45 PM +00:00

R6, that is. I'm all flustered at the length of that thing!

replies 29Dec 2, 2017 10:48 PM +00:00

R6, I won't because you wouldn't know the answer.

R29, you mean the whip?

replies 30Dec 2, 2017 11:07 PM +00:00

His portraits are my favorite.

replies 31Dec 2, 2017 11:13 PM +00:00

Very talented - amazing portraits. Also surprised to see so much negativity here.

replies 32Dec 2, 2017 11:39 PM +00:00

He probably wasn’t the nicest guy, and his career was paid for by a rich and influential boyfriend. But he was talented, and aside from his subject matter, he created an unique visual aesthetic that has been endlessness copied by both art and commercial photographers to this day.

replies 33Dec 2, 2017 11:52 PM +00:00

This is supposed to be artistic. A naked black man with a shiny high-heel on his ass. Whatever.
replies 34Dec 3, 2017 10:55 AM +00:00

But is it art?

replies 35Dec 3, 2017 11:03 AM +00:00

He photographed the iconic Peter Berlin with his famous pageboy haircut.
replies 36Dec 3, 2017 11:05 AM +00:00

Nice cut!

--Kathy Glass
replies 37Dec 3, 2017 11:06 AM +00:00

He and sugar daddy Sam Wagstaff actually look good together.
replies 38Dec 3, 2017 11:08 AM +00:00
Gross racist dinge queen!!

Oh, the irony.

--Eat shit
replies 39Dec 3, 2017 11:18 AM +00:00

dirty pictures of genitalia
replies 40Dec 3, 2017 11:20 AM +00:00

I always know when I’m looking at one of his photos because of his signature lighting. Very uniquely talented, but also deranged, person.

replies 41Dec 3, 2017 11:26 AM +00:00

When I first moved to New York in the 1970s, I lived on West Houston Street. When I wanted cut flowers, I'd buy them from a florist at the corner of West Houston and Sixth. (The space had previously been a tiny Italian restaurant that closed when the owners were jailed for laundering Mafia money and is currently a Korean deli.) At any rate, I got to know the owner a little and he often bragged that Mappleworth was a close friend and bought his Calla Lilies from him.

I stopped going there when he tried to lure me into a scat scene in the back room. I won't repeat the tale he told me about the San Francisco cop with an elephant dung fetish who got his jollies by breaking into the zoo.

replies 42Dec 3, 2017 1:07 PM +00:00

^ I lnow, MAPPLETHORPE not MAPPLEWORTH! How did I do that?

replies 43Dec 3, 2017 1:08 PM +00:00

I remember waiting in line to view 'The Perfect Moment' at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, many years ago. One of the local newspaper critics (I think it was David Wecker) wrote something like, "He's a talented photographer. That was a perfect photo of one man's fist in another man's ass." I already owned his 'Black Book' back then (it now resides with my ex).

'Thomas' in R1's photo was porn performer Joe Simmons (I didn't really 'know' porn until later). His (Joe's) work is easy to find on different porn tube sites. I liked his (Robert's) work, but I'm not going to comment on his on-going value as an artist. He documented a very specific time in our history, as I don't think anyone other than Nan Goldin did.

replies 44Dec 3, 2017 2:09 PM +00:00

I meant to include a link.

The Mapplethorpe obscenity trial changed perceptions of public funding of art and shaped the city of Cincinnati
replies 45Dec 3, 2017 2:09 PM +00:00

R17, I think that's Laurie Anderson.

replies 46Dec 3, 2017 7:50 PM +00:00

Correct, R46 - was just saying that besides the Patti Smith covers, he did some for others as well (maybe didn't word it well)

replies 47Dec 3, 2017 8:03 PM +00:00

We bought a zoo!

--I guess now I know why.
replies 48Dec 3, 2017 11:15 PM +00:00

The dick in OP's photo is the ugliest dick I've ever seen.

replies 49Dec 3, 2017 11:35 PM +00:00

You must be kidding. I'd be all over that hose.

replies 50Dec 3, 2017 11:48 PM +00:00

He was a great artist, but fit into the stereotype of great artists being tortured souls who are total shitheads to other people.

replies 51Dec 3, 2017 11:55 PM +00:00
Very talented - amazing portraits. Also surprised to see so much negativity here.

These people clearly have no idea how good Mapplethorpe was as a photographer. They only see his pics of black dicks or S/M scenes and fail to see beyond the subject matter. Racists and homophobic cunts obviously have problems with guys like Mapplethorpe.

replies 52Dec 4, 2017 12:03 AM +00:00

I NEVER got that Cult of Patti......she never did a thing for the grateful dead.....what? why? isn't she famous by association?

replies 53Dec 4, 2017 7:34 AM +00:00

R49 You are a smegmaphobe and a racist dreary. That is one beautiful dick.

replies 54Dec 4, 2017 7:38 AM +00:00

The documentary on him, Look at the Pictures, was pretty good. Brooke Shields was out of place in it, apparently it was a big deal he photographed her in profile.
--Bull whip
replies 55Dec 4, 2017 7:47 AM +00:00

FUN FACT: Robert Mappelthorpe and former first lady Laura Bush were born on the same day, Nov. 4, 1946.

Unlike Laura Bush, though Robert Mappelthorpe never killed anyone.

replies 56Dec 4, 2017 8:03 AM +00:00

R56 We don't know that for sure!

replies 57Dec 4, 2017 8:25 AM +00:00

In the photography history class I took, he was hailed as a portrait artist. In the text, this self portrait was the photo that represented his work.
replies 58Dec 4, 2017 8:34 AM +00:00

A bottom with a camera will never be able to resist taking explicit photos of themselves and then showing them to as many people as possible.

replies 59Dec 4, 2017 8:48 AM +00:00

Porn is hot, cheap, thrilling (usually) His pictures are sort of lifeless and unsexy. Very stylish, though.

replies 60Dec 4, 2017 9:08 AM +00:00

Luc Sante wrote a good essay about Mapplethorpe that captured the complexity of his character and work - and mentioned the peculiar coldness of his most graphic pictures.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s work is difficult to see, which is not the same thing as saying it is difficult to look at. It is certainly not difficult to view; in the six and a half years that have elapsed since Mapplethorpe’s death from AIDS at the age of forty-two, it has gotten much more diffusion and …
The New York Review of Books
replies 61Dec 4, 2017 9:33 AM +00:00

R53 agree about Patti and the Dead. Never did a thing for me either.

replies 62Dec 4, 2017 9:42 AM +00:00

I took my mother to see this show at the ICA in Boston (where it was not banned and Led Zeppelin was). There were a few whiners around town - one lone protester showed up on opening day. Even Cardinal Law kept his fat yap shut about it.

Back then you could make arguments in favor of art and freedom of expression and they would usually win. These days, I don't know if Americans can muster up that much backbone.

Mom loved the show. She bought a calla lily print that was on the wall in her house until she died. Now I have it and it's a lovely reminder of a nice day with my mother who taught us to fear no art. I have no issue with anyone who criticizes Mapplethorpe's work on its artistic merits (or lack thereof). I may agree or disagree but at least it's a valid argument. The pearl clutchers need to shut the fuck up, especially here on the DL.

replies 63Dec 4, 2017 9:43 AM +00:00

I worked at his final show in the '80's @ the Whitney Museum . He was in a wheel chair and looked very wan, skinny , wasting away. Such a talent....So sad to lose him. I love his work.

replies 64Dec 4, 2017 9:48 AM +00:00

If you watched the HBO documentary mentioned above, you would see how ducked up he really was. He was a cruel, sel-serving egomaniac. His scat fetish and Satanism was confirmed. He had a thing for black men, who he referred to a n*****s, and blamed them for his contracting AIDS (although he'd been playing with/consuming shit, blood play. and engaging in bare backed sex all before/during the onset and rise of AIDS in NYC. As if that wasn't enough, he even had a pet monkey during his college years, that he let starve to death. After the animal's death, one of his friends said they came to Mapplethorpe's apartment, where Robert was boiling the flesh off the animal's bones. He was talented, but he was seriously fucked up. Had he never seduced Sam W., he'd have never been heard of.

replies 65Dec 4, 2017 10:22 AM +00:00

R65, please find your way back to whatever rock you crawled out from under.

replies 66Dec 4, 2017 10:29 AM +00:00

I still find it hard to believe anyone is into scat.

replies 67Dec 4, 2017 10:43 AM +00:00


--Always wanted to do that
replies 68Dec 4, 2017 10:45 AM +00:00

Vile sociopathic sex pig. Two trick pony - fetish porn and 80s corporate still lives and portraits for hanging in Wall St offices. Ugly, too.

replies 69Dec 4, 2017 10:49 AM +00:00

R65, your information is 100% correct.

Mapplethorpe was a racist. He was obsessed with black men, ye called them the N word constantly. He was definitely into scat.

Read his ex lover's biography on Mapplethorpe, it's free online. IIRC, his ex lover was the editor of DRUMMER. I forgot his name, but it's sure some insightful reading.

replies 70Dec 4, 2017 10:50 AM +00:00

R66 he is stating facts, I have seen the interview with his former roommate about the monkey. Mapplethorpe was an evil bastard.

replies 71Dec 4, 2017 10:51 AM +00:00

Not read the whole thread here's the latest doc

Press CC/Box in screen to activate English subtitles) If the documentary is incomplete for you, read below! For those who are having trouble watching the . A...
replies 72Dec 4, 2017 10:53 AM +00:00
Back then you could make arguments in favor of art and freedom of expression and they would usually win. These days, I don't know if Americans can muster up that much backbone.

Haters hate and on the internet everyone is a critic with a voice joining other critics and their voices. Ther result is an internet lynch mob. Because the non-haters are usually like "whatever, man!" rolling their eyes and leaving.

replies 73Dec 4, 2017 10:54 AM +00:00

The scat thing is true, the racist thing is true, even the satanism is true. He was quite a character. I don’t know enough about photography to say whether his pictures are good. Everyone says they are, so what do I know? I like some of them. The one where he’s shitting the whip is pretty cool.

replies 74Dec 4, 2017 12:16 PM +00:00

Mapplethorpe's brother is actually an accomplished photographer, Edward Mapplethorpe. The brother actually printed a lot of Robert's photos. Photography isn't just about the subject, the composition and taking the photo, it's also about the print. Printing is very important to fine art photography.

I recall an interview with the brother, where he started Robert wasn't much interested in the printing, he usually left that to others.

“Robert had no interest in the technical side of photography,” said Patricia Morrisroe, who wrote his biography. “He never did his own printing, and his work grew in sophistication and proficiency when he brought his brother on.”

For the last 20 years, Edward Mapplethorpe, inheritor of his brother’s camera, has been taking unexpectedly edgy — yes — baby photos.
replies 75Dec 4, 2017 12:36 PM +00:00

R65 thanks for reconfirming what I stated about asshole Mapplethorpe further up thread. That he was a racist bigot and he was obsessed with black men. And he also referred to them as "N" words! His only purpose for them was to fetishsize them. And treat them as sex objects. As so many gay white men do. Instead of him taking responsibility for himself contracting aids. He blames black men for his promiscuous behavior.

Once again fuck him glad he's no longer of this world.

replies 76Dec 4, 2017 12:52 PM +00:00

"Fetishsize" indeed...

--Most of us should be so lucky!
replies 77Dec 5, 2017 1:36 AM +00:00

Mapplethorpe: "Children are sexual beings"

replies 78Dec 5, 2017 8:25 AM +00:00
replies 79Dec 5, 2017 8:35 AM +00:00

He should have went to jail for the above, and others.

replies 80Dec 5, 2017 8:38 AM +00:00

It's no wonder he and Patti Smith clicked. They both were intensely full of themselves, both pretentious assholes,

and they both had only one goal: to be famous.

His "art" was mostly porno type shit. It was mean to be "shocking." I thought the best thing he did was the cover photo for Patti Smith's album "Horses."

He really was a piece of shit. Although racist, he loved black cock. He was mindlessly promiscuous and of course got AIDS. But even after getting AIDS he continued his reckless sexual behavior. It's said that he deliberately sought out black men after his AIDS diagnosis because eh thought he'd probably gotten in from a black man, so he could give back what he got. Robert Mapplethorpe was truly a horrible human being.

replies 81Dec 5, 2017 8:47 AM +00:00

He never would have been famous if he started in the internet age. People would have looked at his cock pictures and shrugged their shoulders. Patti Smith had one good song. Because the Night. Everything else she did was a horror show.

replies 82Dec 5, 2017 9:11 AM +00:00

Found the book by Mapplethorpe's ex-lover Jack Fritscher, Ph.D

He's offering the entire book online to read for free. It's also available to buy at Amazon. This is from Jack's website.

"Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera is a vivid, compelling story of a specific group at a specific time in a specific place, living in a Golden Age before AIDS and its lost civilization sank beneath a viral sea. This pop culture memoir contains sex, lies, greed, perversion, murder, deceit, infidelity, drugs, sex, immorality, scatology, ambition, equivocation, character assassination, slander, blasphemy, aspersion, betrayal, distortion, racism, ungodliness, sodomy-- and that's just the critics of Mapplethorpe."
replies 83Dec 5, 2017 1:26 PM +00:00

R80, you should go to Sad Grammar Jail.

This is my favorite Patti Smith...

(smith) I was a wing in heaven blue soared over the ocean soared over Spain and I was free needed nobody it was beautiful it was beautiful I was a pawn didn'...
replies 84Dec 6, 2017 5:10 PM +00:00

He gifted a few prints to Fran Lebowitz, but she thought they were of not much value and threw them out one time she moved homes. Yes, she regrets is.

replies 85Dec 6, 2017 6:35 PM +00:00

Besides the weird doppleganger relationship (they were like psychic twins) with Patti Smith, Mapplethorpe had a couple of other important relationships. The true love of his life was said to be Milton Moore, a very mentally disturbed black man from a poor background. Mapplethorpe thought he was a "perfect" specimen, his ideal black lover. It's Moore's cock hanging out of his fly in "Man In A Polyester Suit." Mapplethorpe was besotted with him, but looked down on him because he was black. He called Moore "a primitive" and Moore said Mapplethorpe viewed him as though he were 'a monkey in a zoo." The relationship was doomed of course. But it really was as close to true love (on Mapplethorpe's part, anyway) love as Mapplethorpe could get.

His other big relationship was with Sam Wagstaff. A handsome, rich, much older art collector, he became enamored of Mapplethorpe and became his Sugar Daddy. After his death (of AIDS) he left the majority of his fortune to Mapplethorpe.Mapplethorpe once said to Wagstaff that he loved him "as much as I can." Which really wasn't that much; Mapplethorpe was probably too self absorbed to really love anybody.

replies 86Dec 7, 2017 5:42 AM +00:00

Those black men that allowed themselves to be in a relationship with someone like Mapplethorpe. Is a fucking embarrassment and weak minded on their parts. I really hate black men like that. The ones who will put up with anything from "white lovers" for whatever reason. I know this isn't true of all black men. But I know plenty who won't date or have sex with white men anymore. Because of reasons presented by Mapplethorpe. No one wants to be a fetish. Especially not to a white men or women. it's degrading and dehumanizing in general and there's also historical context to it. I'm happy some have woken up. But we'll also always have a handful of lost negros who don't care. And just want what they want. As sad as that is it's the truth.

--Black Guy
replies 87Dec 7, 2017 7:26 AM +00:00

He had a thing for foreskins.

replies 88Dec 7, 2017 7:29 AM +00:00

No one wants to say that Mapplethorpe was mentally ill? He was.

replies 89Dec 8, 2017 12:14 PM +00:00

He and his brother have that WASPy cold blue eyed look.

replies 90Dec 8, 2017 1:52 PM +00:00