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Robert Mapplethorpe
the perfect medium

Robert Mapplethorpe Self-portrait 1980, jointly acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The J Paul Getty Trust; partial gift of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, partial purchase with funds provided by The J Paul Getty Trust and the David Geffen Foundation © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission

See through the eyes of an icon.

Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium celebrates one of the most renowned photographers of the 20th century, an artist who understood the medium’s ability to alter perceptions and push boundaries.

This comprehensive survey of Robert Mapplethorpe’s career features over 200 works, including floral still lifes, portraits, figure studies and erotic imagery that charts his involvement in New York’s gay scene, as well as a selection of archival material providing insights into his working methods and life.

An icon who photographed other icons, Mapplethorpe captured and shaped an era with portraits that immortalised the cultural idols of the 1970s and 1980s, including lifelong muse Patti Smith, fellow artists Cindy Sherman and Louise Bourgeois, actor Isabella Rossellini and musicians Debbie Harry and Philip Glass.

Whether he was photographing a figure, a fetish or a flower, Mapplethorpe pursued what he called ‘perfection in form’. The legacy of his unflinching quest for beauty has an enduring political and artistic resonance.

Accompanying the exhibition is an unmissable range of programs, including partnerships with VICE/iD and with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2018, presenting special Art After Hours on 8 November and in February.

The exhibition is organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and J Paul Getty Museum, in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation and the Art Gallery of NSW. Support for the exhibition and its international tour has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Discover the stories behind the art. Discover more about the life, times and art of Mapplethorpe. Enter.
Terra. Major sponsor BDO Clemenger

_Note: Now opening 27 October 2017 (not 28 October). This display contains sexually explicit imagery.

Note: This display includes works that are protected under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013. More information

27 Oct 2017 – 4 Mar 2018

Buy tickets now from Qtix

Tickets can be used once, anytime the exhibition is open. You don’t specify a date/time when booking.

$18 adult
$16 concession
$14 member
$44 family (2 adults + up to 3 children)
$8 child (5-17 years)
Free for children under 5
$2 transaction fee applies online

Also available
$29/$26/$23 multi-entry ticket
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Note: this exhibition contains sexually explicit imagery

Temporary exhibitions gallery