Andy Warhol (1986)
About this artwork
Andy Warhol was one of the most influential artists of the late twentieth century. Indeed, Mapplethorpe had idolised him while he was studying at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in the late 1960s. However, by 1973 when they showed together at the Gotham Book Mart in New York, they were distrustful of each other. After completing portraits of each other in 1983, Mapplethorpe photographed Warhol again in 1986. Warhol’s head appears severed from his body, floating within a black void. His trademark luminous wig and pale face contrast brilliantly against the background, creating a ghostly appearance. As with the 1983 portraits, Warhol bears his customary blank expression.
- title: Andy Warhol
- accession number: AR00149
- artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
- depicted: Andy Warhol
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Photograph
- medium: Gelatine silver print
- date created: 1986
- measurements: 47.60 x 47.10 cm (framed: 78.40 x 81.60 x 3.00 cm)
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
The American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe became famous, not to say, notorious, in the 1970s and 1980s for his photographs of the male nude and sexually explicit, gay imagery. Although often considered controversial, Mapplethorpe tested the right to individual freedom of expression. These images were not meant to be titillating or obscene but beautiful in a traditionally classical way. His work, therefore, holds a significant place in the history of artistic struggle to depict the world as it is, with honesty and truth. His nudes, when considered alongside his portraits of children and flower photographs, show him to be overwhelmingly interested in the beauty and transience of life. Mapplethorpe, even when facing death from AIDS, affirmed the beauty of the here and now.