Forthcoming Book of His Archive Adds to Recent Robert Mapplethorpe Fever

The archive is over 400 illustrations strong.

Robbert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait (1980) Photo: courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Robbert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait (1980)
Photo: courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

There seems to be a bug going around and it’s giving everybody involved a bad case of Robert Mapplethorpe fever.

The latest sign of the art world’s growing obsession is the Getty Research Institute’s recently-announced publication of Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive, a book of the artist’s work being released in conjunction with the upcoming joint retrospective at Los Angeles’s J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), opening March 15 and March 20, respectively.

A new HBO documentary on the artist will also be part of the festivities. In addition, Mapplethorpe is the subject of an upcoming Showtime mini-series and a Zosia Mamet-starring biopic (both based on Patti Smith‘s memoir Just Kids, which charts her golden days with Mapplethorpe.)

According to a press release published by Art Daily, the book features over 400 illustrations, with a medley of Mapplethorpe’s original works along with peripheral documents such as letter correspondence, exhibition invites, and works by other artists who orbited Mapplethorpe’s circle.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol (1986) Photo: courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol (1986).
Photo: courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Forever embedded in the memory of New York’s 1960s and 1970s art scene, Mapplethorpe’s oeuvre remains a source of intrigue, and there is a similar ongoing fascination with his personal life. The book promises to contextualize Mapplethorpe’s work with supporting ephemera that illustrate his relationships with key artists and thinkers of his generational moment.

A companion book, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs, from Getty curator Paul Martineu and LACMA curator Britt Salvesen, will be published the same day.


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