Consensual Subordination

For Robert Mapplethorpe, sex was one of the highest forms of art. Again and again, his works provoked furious controversy due to their explicit portrayal of sexuality, sado-masochism, and fetishism. Oliver Koerner von Gustorf on pornography trials, art experts, allegations of racism, and the radical aesthetic underlying Mapplethorpe's works.

Pygmalion's Eye

Flesh turns to stone, stone to flesh: the work of Robert Mapplethorpe combines modern issues with an austere classicism that is only apparently in contradiction to his provocative visual subjects. Maria Morais on Mapplethorpe's aesthetic versions of the "ideally beautiful," heroic bodies, and the sensuousness of role models from classical antiquity.

Interview with Germano Celant

In " Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition," Flemish and Dutch Mannerist masters meet cool American nude photography - a risky experiment at the very least. Responsible for this brave juxtaposition is Germano Celant, head curator for contemporary art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. An exclusive interview.

The Male Nude as a Model

In the everyday imagery of mass culture, Mapplethorpe was the first to give the motto "sex sells" its justification in respect to the male body. At the same time, Mapplethorpe insists on representing the phallus, emphasizing the pornographic models that trained his eye. Brigitte Werneburg on new advertising photography and age-old taboos.

Body Language: Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition

He was an erotomaniac, a cool aesthete, and a pioneer: Robert Mapplethorpe, whom the current issue of db artmag is dedicated to, was the first important artist to make explicitly erotic inages the center of his creative work. His unique flower still lifes and his aesthetic, sometimes shocking nudes and portraits are familiar to a wider public. “Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition,” the current exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, investigates Robert Mapplethorpe’s classical photography and juxtaposes it with the dramatic yet graceful engravings of Dutch and Flemish mannerists. +++++ “He was a beautiful angel, but he also had something devilish about him” : an interview with the Guggenheim curator Germano Celant on the reception of Mapplethorpe’s work between art historical consecration and erotic provocation +++++ Statuary austerity: Maria Morais on the heroic sensuousness of idealized bodies and Mapplethorpe’s photographic homage to sculpture +++++ His work didn’t only provoke the art world, but also conservative politicians, district attorneys and police departments. Over the past thirty years, Mapplethorpe has grown from being an “artist of the obscene” into a classic. Oliver Koerner von Gustorf on pornographic portrayals and their effect on moralists, opponents of censorship, and art experts. +++++ Sex sells, but you still don’t see many black models, and you definitely don’t see any male genitals in fashion magazines. Brigitte Werneburg on naked men’s bodies in advertising, Mapplethorpe’s influence on the commercial aesthetic, and central aspects of his photographic work, which to this day hasn’t found its way into mainstream culture. +++++ Mapplethorpe innately understood the pact between repulsion and attraction. He lacerated the viewer’s privacy while permitting the viewer to go beyond what was normally publicly acceptable at the time. Did this practice back-fire for Mapplethorpe? Or was that back-firing an intended response? Cheryl Kaplan met Guggenheim Curator Jennifer Blessing at office in SoHo and talked about Robert Mapplethorpe’s need to express lust and pleasure, his use of allegory and his references to the classic.