In honour of what would have been Robert Mapplethorpe’s 70th birthday, Juergen Teller is curating an exhibition of the iconoclast’s work at London’s Alison Jacques Gallery, opening November.
Giving the London-based, German-born artist and photographer – who last year famously shot Kim Kardashian-West and husband Kanye in the French countryside – free rein over the American artist’s entire archive via the Mapplethorpe Foundation, the gallery’s press release explains the parallels between Mapplethorpe and Teller’s ability to seamlessly cross over between the worlds of art and commercial fashion photography.
Alison Jacques, who has represented the Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe in the UK for almost two decades said, "Provocative and subversive, making images which are the antithesis of conventional fashion photography and, most importantly, a key artist of his time, Juergen Teller was the only choice to curate this special exhibition of Robert’s work. There are obvious parallels between these artists and I am excited to see how Juergen will bring his edge, energy and unique vision to a new reading of Robert’s work.”
Mapplethorpe was known for – as well as criticised for – his exploration of male sexuality and homosexuality, nudes, celebrity portraits, self-portraits, Polaroids, and still life images, particularly of flowers. His relationship with musician and muse Patti Smith in the late 60s, early 70s was also highly publicised. Described as his soul mate, lover and artistic collaborator, the two lived and hustled in New York at the beginning of their careers and is detailed in Smith’s 2010 book Just Kids.
With over 50 solo exhibitions to his name as well as numerous inclusions in museum shows and collections, sadly Mapplethorpe passed away from HIV/Aids in 1989.
Teller on Mapplethorpe will open 18 November 2016 and run until 7 January 2017 at London’s Alison Jacques Gallery