Essay on Robert Mapplethorpe 's Influence On Society

Essay on Robert Mapplethorpe 's Influence On Society

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Robert Mapplethorpe was born on November 4, 1946 in Floral Park, New York. He was born into a Roman Catholic family to his parents Harry and Joan Mapplethorpe. When he went to college at Pratt Institute, being inspired by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg, he experimented with collages and constructions, often using Catholic iconography and imagery of homosexuality. This theme of defying his early life runs throughout his work.
He eventually began producing his own photographs with a Polaroid camera, saying he felt "it was more honest." And in 1973, he received his first solo gallery exhibition titled “Polaroids” at the Light Gallery in New York. During the mid 1970s, he got hold of a Hasselblad and starting to take portraits of his friends, which included artists, composers, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S&M underground scene. S&M or sadomasochism is the giving or receiving of pleasure from acts involving the receipt or infliction of pain. Practitioners of sadomasochism may seek sexual gratification from their acts.
This is what made Robert Mapplethorpe famous in the art world. While documenting the gay community in relations to sadomasochism, his work was pornographic. Coming out into his own sexuality in the 1970s, Mapplethorpe was trying to shift the way that people looked at homosexuals from the effeminate gayness to something much rougher and virile. Being raised as a Roman Catholic, he was aware of ideas like sin, guilt, and punishment. Being the person he was, his innate, curious spirit lead him to the S&M underground. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, "I don 't like that particular word 'shocking. ' I 'm looking for the unexpected. I 'm looking for things I 've never s...


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...hock in his work. He wanted his viewers to be able to sexualize his work in the way that he looks at the male form. The shock of showing race to S&M confronted the viewer so that they could not shy away from the subject, but to come to an understanding of homosexuality and racial diversity through his work.
Mapplethorpe was a pioneer for homosexuals in a photographic world. He paved a way for men to not be made effeminate into roles that were not who they were. Mapplethorpe allowed a celebration of a community along with presenting life and style that was never seen before. Robert Mapplethorpe died on March 9, 1989 in Boston, Massachusetts due to complications from AIDS. His legacy will live on because of the brashness of his work and the notoriety he recieved from his lover, Sam Wagstaff. So many can credit Robert Mapplethorpe for his contribution to the art field.

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