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May 04, 2011

New York: What Robert Mapplethorpe Means in 2011

By Departures Dispatch | Arts + Culture

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It doesn't get more New York than Robert Mapplethorpe (the late artist grew up in Queens, studied at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and did much of his black-and-white photography in Manhattan studios), but a new show of his photographs takes a more national approach. Opening May 6 in Manhattan, the "50 Americans" exhibit at Sean Kelly Gallery has, as its name implies, 50 Americans—one from each state—choose an image from the Mapplethorpe catalogue that resonates with them as individuals. The selectors range in age from 20 to more than 100 years old; among them are a rancher, a business analyst, a rabbi and an IT engineer. Accompanying each image is a brief narrative from each participant explaining why he or she felt connected to a photograph, shedding light on how Mapplethorpe's oeuvre continues to impact viewers 22 years after his untimely death. At 528 W. 29th St.; 212-239-1181; skny.com.

Robert Mapplethorpe
Nick Marden, 1980
Copyright Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by Permission.

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