Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato | USA, Germany | 2016 | 108 min.

This is the first definitive, feature length portrait of the controversial artist, Robert Mapplethorpe, since his untimely death in 1989.

A catalyst and an illuminator, but also a magnet for scandal, Robert Mapplethorpe had but one goal: to ‘make it’ as an artist and as an art celebrity. He could not have picked a better time: the Manhattan of Warhol’s Factory, Studio 54, and an era of unbridled hedonistic sexuality. His first solo exhibition in 1976 already unveils his subjects: flowers, portraits and nudes. Mapplethorpe quickly gains notoriety through his explicitly sexual photographs from the gay sadomasochistic scene as well as nude pictures of black men.

Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato were given unrestricted access to Mapplethorpe’s archives for their documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, in which this exceptional artist talks candidly about himself in recently discovered interviews. At the same time, the testimonials of friends, lovers, family members, celebrities and models help paint an intimate, yet critical picture of this complex key figure of 20th century photography.



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