Robert Mapplethorpe

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Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was infamous for his candor surrounding the eroticism in his art and his own participation in the sadomasochistic acts depicted in his most controversial pieces. His subjects ranged from single flower buds, to portraits of the wealthy and famous, to nudes, and were displayed in several high-profile exhibitions during his short career. His final display, entitled The Perfect Moment, occurred only months before his death, and spawned a censorship trial and Congressional panic over public funding of prints that included a self-portrait with a whip inserted inside the author’s anus; dialogue around The Perfect Moment and censorship remains ongoing, and even had a conference framed around it in 2009.

The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, formed to promote photography and fund HIV/AIDS research, has a website here; curiously, its online galleries do not include the explicit works that brought Mapplethorpe his fame in the first place.

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