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Further viewing – the art of Robert MapplethorpeLatest News ->

Fri 09 July, 2010.

Probably the best collection of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography viewable online is presented by the Guggenheim Museum’s main New York site (Collections > Collection Online > Major Acquisition > The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Gift). This online collection presents a selection of the Guggenheim’s holdings of some two hundred examples of Mapplethorpe’s work, gifted to the museum by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation between 1993 and 1998. The gift made the Guggenheim “the most comprehensive public repository of this important American artist’s work”; and, together with a substantial grant, also inaugurated the museum’s photography collection and exhibition programme.

The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation’s own website (see our Resource Directory), hosts a greater number and variety of the artist’s photography, but, unlike the Foundation, the Guggenheim courageously presents what have become two of Mapplethorpe’s most controversial portraits: Jesse McBride and Rosie. As readers of SDk01’s nonfiction feature articles “Twenty years later: Mapplethorpe, art and politics” and “Censoring Mapplethorpe in the UK” would know, these were portraits that stirred major incidents of legal action, attempted and actual censorship, and outrage on both sides of associated debates in the United States in 1990 and in the United Kingdom in 1996 and 1997–98.

The issues associated with these debates, and ongoing censorship, persist today.

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