Cover image for Pictures
Mapplethorpe, Robert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[Place of publication not identified] : Arena Editions ; New York, NY : Distributed by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly illustrations ; 29 cm
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR680 .M297 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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Known primarily for his refined aesthetic, Mapplethorpe's classical portraits, nudes, and still lifes, help redefine photography as an art form at a time when the medium was floundering. "Pictures" dispenses with the intellectual, political, and religious rhetoric surrounding earlier debates, allowing the photographs to speak on their own terms. 100 duotone photos.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Mapplethorpe, whose name is now synonymous with controversy, was renowned for his refined aesthetic and his willingness to confront taboos. In contrast to his classical portraits, nudes, and still lifes, his sex photographs and the reactions they engendered have been much discussed but less frequently seen. Edited and designed by Levas, this compilation of images (made between 1976 and 1980) showcases 103 beautifully reproduced duotone plates and demonstrates Mapplethorpe's intimate, personal vision of homosexuality and fetishism. Interview editor Ingrid Sischy provides a brief introductory essay that concisely contextualizes the work, explaining that while they may be shocking the photos are not pornographic. "Explicit pictures of homosexual sex don't make up a huge proportion of his work, but they are its underbelly." This handsome book is a welcome addition to the 100 books and articles listed in its bibliography, offering valuable documentation of an important artist. Highly recommended for specialized collections.√ĄJames E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Mapplethorpe's photographs were controversial and challenging before his death in 1989, and as more are published, they continue to be so. Over a period of three or four years, but mainly in 1978 and 1979, he made a series of images that he referred to as the "sex pictures." These are explicit photographs of all-male sex and sadomasochistic rituals that depict what occurs in sex between men. It was these pictures that were shown in now-legendary underground exhibitions. Editor Levas, who designed the book and selected the images (almost 100 reproduced one to a page), worked with Mapplethorpe in the 1980s. There is no gratuitous sensationalism; the cool, extravagant, and cerebral beauty that typifies all of Mapplethorpe's work is in evidence here. The images speak for themselves, and the viewer must come to terms with them. There is a brief text, "That Feeling in the Stomach," by Ingrid Sischy, editor of Interview, who also wrote a piece for the Whitney Museum catalog by Richard Marshall, Robert Mapplethorpe (CH, Mar'89). Sischy asserts that these photographs are fundamental to an understanding of Mapplethorpe's work as a whole; this is true. Therefore, this book, while provocative in the extreme, must be a part of any collection documenting the photography of this artist. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. P. C. Bunnell; Princeton University