Queer Places:
Pratt Institute, 200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205, Stati Uniti
Hotel Chelsea, 222 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011, Stati Uniti
35 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10010, Stati Uniti
24 Bond St, New York, NY 10012, Stati Uniti
St. John Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens, NY, Stati Uniti

Image result for Robert Mapplethorpe Sam WagstaffRobert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) was an American photographer, known for his sensitive yet blunt treatment of controversial subject-matter in the large-scale, highly stylized black and white medium of photography. His work featured an array of subjects, including celebrity portraits, male and female nudes, self-portraits and still-life images of flowers. His most controversial work is that of the underground BDSM scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s of New York City. The homoeroticism of this work fuelled a national debate over the public funding of controversial artwork.

Mapplethorpe was born in Floral Park, Queens, New York City, the son of Joan Dorothy (Maxey) and Harry Irving Mapplethorpe, an electrical engineer.[1] He was of English, Irish, and German descent, and grew up as a Roman Catholic in Our Lady of the Snows Parish. He had five brothers and sisters.[2] He studied for a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he majored in Graphic Arts,[3] though he dropped out in 1969 before finishing his degree.[4] Mapplethorpe lived with his close friend Patti Smith from 1967 to 1972, and she supported him by working in bookstores. They created art together, and maintained a close relationship.

Mapplethorpe took his first photographs in the late 1960s or early 1970s using a Polaroid camera. In 1972 he met art curator Sam Wagstaff who would become his mentor and lifetime companion. In the mid-1970s Wagstaff acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and Mapplethorpe began taking photographs of a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, including artists, composers, and socialites. During this time, he became friends with New Orleans artist George Dureau, whose work had such a profound impact on Mapplethorpe that he restaged many of Dureau's early photographs. From 1977 until 1980, Mapplethorpe was the lover of writer and Drummer magazine editor Jack Fritscher,[5] who introduced him to Mineshaft.

By the 1980s Mapplethorpe's subject matter focused on statuesque male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and highly formal portraits of artists and celebrities. Mapplethorpe's first studio was at 24 Bond Street in Manhattan. In the 1980s, Wagstaff bought a top-floor loft at 35 West 23rd Street for Robert, which he lived in and used as his shooting space.[6] He kept the Bond Street loft as his darkroom. In 1988, Mapplethorpe selected Patricia Morrisroe to write his biography, which was based on more than 300 interviews with celebrities, critics, lovers, and Mapplethorpe himself.[6]


Hotel Chelsea, New York City

Mapplethorpe died on the morning of March 9, 1989 at the age of 42 due to complications from HIV/AIDS, in a Boston, Massachusetts hospital. His body was cremated. His ashes are interred at St. John's Cemetery, Queens in New York, at his mother's grave-site, etched "Maxey".[7]

Nearly a year before his death, the ailing Mapplethorpe helped found the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc. His vision for the Foundation was that it would be "the appropriate vehicle to protect his work, to advance his creative vision, and to promote the causes he cared about".[8] Since his death, the Foundation has not only functioned as his official estate and helped promote his work throughout the world, but it has also raised and donated millions of dollars to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV infection.[8] The Foundation also determines which galleries represent Mapplethorpe's art.[9][10] The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation donated the Robert Mapplethorpe Archive to the Getty Research Institute. The archive spans from 1970 to 1989.[11]


  1. "Mapplethorpe, Robert".
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  3. Glueck, Grace. "Fallen Angel", The New York Times, June 25, 1995. Accessed October 14, 2007. "Growing up in a blue-collar precinct of Floral Park and steeped in Catholicism, Mapplethorpe developed — to his alarm — an adolescent interest in gay pornographic magazines ... So, at Pratt Institute, where his father had studied Engineering and Robert majored in Graphic Arts (but stopped short of getting a degree) ..."
  4. Haggerty, George. "Gay histories and cultures"
  5. Jack Fritscher, Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer, San Francisco, Palm Drive Publishing, 2008, ISBN 1890834386, p. 473, Jackfritscher.com, retrieved September 29, 2014.
  6. Morrisroe, Patricia. Robert Mapplethorpe: a biography. New York: Random House, 1995. pgs. 297, 126 ISBN 0-394-57650-0
  7. Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 29890-29891). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
  8. "The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation - Foundation".
  9. Duray, Dan. "Mapplethorpe Estate to OHWOW in Los Angeles". Observer.com. The New York Observer. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  10. "The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation - FAQ". mapplethorpe.org. The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
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  12. Arthur Coleman Danto and Mapplethorpe, Robert. Mapplethorpe. New York: Random House, 1992. Print. pg 326
  13. Thorgerson, Storm; Aubrey Powell (November 1999). 100 Best Album Covers: The Stories Behind the Sleeves (1st American ed.). Dorling Kindersley. p. 74. ISBN 0-7894-4951-X.
  14. Georgetown.edu
  15. Georgetown.edu
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  18. Imperfect Moments: Mapplethorpe and Censorship Twenty Years Later, Institute of Contemporary Art
  19. "ICA".
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  21. "Mapplethorpe's Photos Now an F.C.C. Issue". The New York Times. August 17, 1990.
  22. The Sensitive Society, James F. Fitzpatrick, FCLJ Vol 47 No 2 Archived 2008-06-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. "Corcoran Cut From Painter's Will".
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  26. The federal government and the states have long been permitted to limit obscenity or pornography. However, the exact definition of obscenity and pornography has changed over time. (See also I know it when I see it.)
  27. Grace Glueck (April 16, 1990), Publicity Is Enriching Mapplethorpe Estate The New York Times.
  28. "UCE pages on the Mapplethorpe controversy". Archived from the original on February 9, 1999. Retrieved 2002-11-12.
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  30. Mapplethorpe, Robert (1946-1989)
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  33. Audio Guide Stop For Glenn Ligon, Notes on the Margins of the Black Book, 1991-1993, Whitney Museum of American Art
  34. Duberman, Martin (2014). Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill and the Battlefield of AIDS. New York: The New Press. pp. 169-170. ISBN 978-1-59558-945-3.
  35. Russell, Paul (1991). Boys of Life. New York, NY: Dutton. p. iii. ISBN 978-0525933274.
  36. Washington Post Book World, May 28, 1995, In the Darkroom of the Soul.
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  40. "Extract from: HANSARD, S.A. LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Wednesday 14 March 2001". Retrieved 5 October 2013.
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  43. Philip Gefter, The Man Who Made Mapplethorpe, The New York Times, April 24, 2007
  44. Jay Weisberg, Review of Black White + Gray, Variety Magazine, May 7, 2007
  45. "Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe - Tribeca Film Festival". Tribeca.
  46. Earnest Hardy, Art Doc of the Week | Black White + Gray, CRAVEN, August 25, 2015
  47. Wolf, Sylvia (2007). Robert Mapplethorpe: Polaroids. Munich: Prestel. ISBN 3791338358.
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  50. "National Book Awards – 2010". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-20. (With interview, acceptance speech, and reading.)
  51. "Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  52. Bradshaw, Peter (21 April 2016). "Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures review – justice is done to a brilliant photographer". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  53. Leigh, Danny (21 April 2016). "Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures — film review: 'Appreciative and frank'". London: Financial Times. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
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