Lawrence Weiner (1982)
About this artwork
Lawrence Weiner is one of the founders of conceptual art, a movement that placed the emphasis on the conceptual and linguistic basis and formulation of a work of art, rather than on its execution. Mapplethorpe portrays him as a rugged intellectual with more than a streak of flamboyance - a silk scarf draped around his neck and tattooed star on his wrist - and love of his own rhetoric (note the open mouth, as if he had been caught in mid-flow). The diagonal lines of his arms create a parallelogram in the centre of the composition that acts as a base for the bearded head above.
- title: Lawrence Weiner
- accession number: AR00218
- artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
- depicted: Lawrence Weiner
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Photograph
- materials: Photograph, gelatine silver print on paper
- date created: 1982
- measurements: 37.50 x 37.50 cm (framed: 50.80 x 40.60 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.