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Polaroids: Mapplethorpe

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Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St., New York, NY 10014 40.739633 -74.008876
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  • Type of Show:

    Museum Exhibits, Photography

Courtesy of Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation / Whitney Museum


$15, $10 students and seniors, free for members and children under 12


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Robert Mapplethorpe was anything but a one-trick pony of the photography world, but his formal compositions are so iconic that it’s hard to imagine him producing anything less than perfect. But then there is this much less rigid body of work, culled from the hundreds of Polaroids Mapplethorpe snapped as a young man in the early seventies. In between self-portraits and still lifes hang spontaneous shots of friends like Patti Smith and Marianne Faithfull, creating a disarming and tender artistic prologue to his later stylized photos. The show’s as much a love note to impulsive youth as it is to the soon-to-disappear Polaroid film itself.

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