MR ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE STRIKES A POSE AND MAKES A BIG SPLASH WITH MR DAVID HOCKNEY CURATOR
David Hockney, with a puff of his cigarette switched from painter-photographer to curator of a new exhibition of the work of his late American friend Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the most controversial photographers of the twentieth century.
He was cut off in his prime by his untimely death from an Aids-related illness in 1989.
I attended the private view in the Alison Jacques Gallery Mayfair, which was drenched with arty types, including the great curator, David Hockney himself, Salman Rushdie, Uri Geller and Bryan Ferry. Ivan the Terrible cocktails, a marvellous mixture of, vodka, honey water, lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon, were being imbibed with gusto all round. One needed a cool drink or two, as many people had blushes on display. Not surprising as certain photographs were a bit hot, hot, hot!
The irony is that Hockney had his own debate berating photography, and specifically the newfangled digital cameras. And now we have an exhibition that has around sixty of Mapplethorpe’s mostly black-and-white photographers taken in the years 1975-1988.
They include Hockney’s hand-picked personal selection -nudes, still lifes, erotic flowers and even some naughty snaps. The appealing aspect of the show is that there are numerous images that are rare and some have never been on show in London before.
Mapplethorpe was part of New York’s decadent Seventies and Eighties set. His work has many qualities and always had his own, personal, intimate take on the world through the lens.
Hockney’s and Mapplethorpe’s world overlapped. They first met in 1970 when Hockney visited Mapplethorpe who was living with rock musician Patti Smith. Hockney was photographed by Mapplethorpe on many occasions in the ensuing years.
Hopefully you, the Hot Gossip UK reader, will visit the show, and see Hockney’s choice of photographs. Just take a look at the young muscle-flexing Arnold Schwarzenegger, present governor of California. Other celebrity portraits to view are artists Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol writer William Burroughs, famous acquaintances Yoko Ono and our own Lord Snowdon.
With Hockney and Mapplethorpe's long friendship as background, looking at the exhibition I got the feeling David Hockney knows the portraits like the back of his hand. This is a well thought out discerning, subjective, passionate and a must see show.
Until March 12 2005
Alison Jacques Gallery
4 Clifford Street
London W1 1RB
Tel:020 7287 7675
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