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PHOTOGRAPHY CATALOGUE OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST: ​Robert Mapplethorpe : The Archive

Frances Terpak & Michelle Brunnick
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive

Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 2016
Designed by Catherine Lorenz
getty.edu/publications

This richly illustrated, smartly designed book is a comprehensive and expansive guide to Robert Mapplethorpe’s archive, which was recently jointly acquired by the Getty Research Institute and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. “What really sets this book apart from others is the range of topics and the specificity of the scholarship,” stresses Becky Senf. The extent of the archive’s contents is outlined in the final chapter, and feels like a privileged glimpse into the materials available to researchers. They reveal Mapplethorpe both as an artist and as an individual; the categories include artwork, commissioned work, jewelry, contact sheets and negatives, Polaroid test shots, correspondence, and financial documents, among others. Additionally, the high-quality reproductions throughout the book give us a sense of these archival materials as objects, and hint at what future scholars will be able to explore to come to new understandings. “Many people will feel that they know this photographer well,” says Senf, “but what we’re offered in this catalogue extends our knowledge beyond the expected.”

Robert Mapplethorpe : The Archive from Paris Photo on Vimeo.

Robert Mapplethorpe : The Archive
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