NEWS: Robert Mapplethorpe @ Bowes Museum | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Patti Smith, 1975 by Robert Mapplethorpe

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I only recently got into Patti Smith when my housemate lent me her autobiography, Kids. I was blown away by the courage and creativity of Patti and her longtime collaborator/partner Robert Mapplethorpe. The book contains images of some of his iconic black and white photography; his subjects include portraits of his artist and celebrity friends from the New York cultural scene in the 70s, male and female nudes, stunning still life images of flowers and intimate self-portraits, as well as his controversial erotic photography.

The exhibition of Mapplethorpe’s work, another coup for the Bowes Museum following the excellent YSL retrospective earlier this year, focuses on portraits of his influential friends – think Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop, David Hockney and Patti herself, to name but a few. This body of work is especially relevant in the context of our current obsession with celebrity culture, and the collection will highlight the connections between the art of the painted portrait and the photographic with reference to specific works in the Museum’s permanent collection.

The exhibition is part of the Artist Rooms tour programme – an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art owned by Tate and National Galleries. The tour’s aim is to engage and inspire young people to develop a greater understanding of Mapplethorpe’s work and the Museum’s own collections.

Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibition will run at Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle from Saturday 28th November until Sunday 24th April.

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