Robert Mapplethorpe

Meredith Monk (1985)

About this artwork

Meredith Monk is a composer, performer, film-maker and interdisciplinary artist. As she said of herself: "I work in between the cracks, where the voice starts dancing, where the body starts singing, where theater becomes cinema". Mapplethorpe has chosen to show her head in profile, silhouetted against a circular form, as if it were a halo. As in so many of his works, Mapplethorpe has turned to the Catholic iconography of the saints to elevate his sitter.

see media
  • title: Meredith Monk
  • accession number: AR00202
  • artist: Robert MapplethorpeAmerican (1946 - 1989)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Photograph
  • medium: Gelatine silver print
  • date created: 1985
  • measurements: 37.20 x 37.40 cm (framed: 64.50 x 62.00 x 3.80 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
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe

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.