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Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures

An unflinching and uncompromising portrait of one of the most controversial photographers.


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This programme contains strong language and explicit sexual scenes.

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Robert Mapplethorpe was the ultimate bad boy of the camera.

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The only thing more shocking than his photographs was his life.

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He gained notoriety in the 1970s with images of New York's underground gay scene,

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which he glorified, uncensored, until his death from Aids in 1989,

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at the age of 42.

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A master of form and light, no subject was off limits.

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Fetishes and sadomasochism were captured with the same meticulous

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detail as eroticised flowers.

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His work convinced art dealers that photography could be as collectable

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as painting and sculpture.

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But exhibitions of his sexually explicit work inevitably raise questions.

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In 1990,

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a Cincinnati art centre was taken to court for displaying work considered pornographic.

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It's this controversy which opens the film you're about to see.

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Directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey were given unlimited access

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to Mapplethorpe's archives and work, and the result is,

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Look At The Pictures.

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An unflinching, uncompromising profile of one of the most provocative

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artists of the 20th century.

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Robert Mapplethorpe,

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a known homosexual who died of Aids and who spent the last years of

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his life promoting homosexuality.

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Now, if any Senator doesn't know what I'm talking about

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in terms of the art that I have protested, well, look at the pictures.

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Now, any Senator who thinks that I'm attacking aesthetic art...

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..I don't know whether television cameras can see it or not,

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I'm going to be fast enough with it that they can't.

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But I want Senators to come over here if they have any doubt and look at the pictures.

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In Cincinnati, police close down the Mapplethorpe exhibit.

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We are sending the Mapplethorpe exhibit to trial.

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Come over here. Look at the pictures.

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One of two artists whose works led to a dispute.

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Look at the pictures. Look at the pictures.

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Look at the pictures.

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It was Mapplethorpe.

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The art gallery and its director are charged with obscenity

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for exhibiting photographs by the late Robert Mapplethorpe.

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-Look at the pictures.

-Mapplethorpe's work is highly controversial.

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-Can I show it to you?

-I don't want to look at it.

-I don't even acknowledge that it's art.

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I don't even acknowledge that the fellow who did it was an artist.

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I think he was a jerk!

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This is one of five vaults in which Mapplethorpe's archive resides.

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Audiovisual material is in here along with more ephemeral paperwork

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from his studio and personal correspondence.

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The photographs are in a cooler

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environment and Polaroids are in an even colder environment.

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One of our big challenges is to really make a case for why we're doing two

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concurrent exhibitions about one artist.

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This is two sides of one coin.

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-Yeah.

-There is a duality that runs through Mapplethorpe's work and life,

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and we hope to be able to divide the material up in a way that would

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highlight that duality.

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-This is a box of self-portraits.

-Great.

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-Oh!

-Oh!

-Yeah, biker jacket from the back.

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Yeah.

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I really like this white piping and how it leads up to this other shape.

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That's one of the great ones.

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When you say Mapplethorpe,

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people immediately think of the controversies that happened during

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the '90s. Guerrilla rebel.

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-Yeah.

-Mapplethorpe was being demonised by Conservative politicians,

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so one of our goals was to humanise Mapplethorpe,

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to bring him back into people's consciousness as a human being.

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It's quite convincing.

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-Ah!

-Ah! Mapplethorpe and bullwhip.

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I remember it being a slightly higher contrast.

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-It's a different paper.

-Right.

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-This is a lot warmer and softer.

-Mm-hm.

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The way his hand is,

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it's so great, it almost looks like he's releasing the shutter.

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Yes, because that...

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..cord comes just to the edge of the frame.

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-The cord kind of connects the viewer with Mapplethorpe.

-Yeah.

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-Because it's coming out of the picture.

-As well as the eye contact,

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-obviously.

-Right.

-It's very defiant.

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He's not hiding his face.

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He's not hiding his identity.

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He's not hiding what he's doing.

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Robert was just my younger brother.

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I'm the oldest. That's myself, my brother, Richard, Robert, Edward,

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Sue and James.

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That's the six of us. When we were young, we did a lot of colouring.

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Robert always had weird things.

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You know, he'd have a green face, or...

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..just not the norm.

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Or purple hair or something.

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And I'd say, what are you doing that for?

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That's not the way it's supposed to be.

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As far as, like, photographs, he never took photographs.

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My dad took a lot of photographs.

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But Robert, he had no interest in that at all.

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My wife and I and the children moved here in 1949.

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I was always interested in photography,

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but none of my kids were until Eddie.

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I had all the equipment downstairs -

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a darkroom, enlarger and printer and drier and everything else.

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This is the block we lived on.

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See, all the houses were the same?

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This was during the snow.

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This is Robert here with two of his friends.

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You know, we had to be home a certain time for dinner, and

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you had to sit at the table until you've finished your dinner.

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Robert was a regular kid.

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One thing was his endurance on a pogo stick.

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He was having competitions with people.

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He would go all the way around the block on a pogo stick.

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Robert was the pogo stick champ of 259th Street of the neighbourhood.

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He just could go on forever.

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And he was so proud of that!

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You know, there's something about black and white pictures that are so

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much better because they last.

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I took this of Robert in front of our house, right?

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The rest of them, all these, he took of me,

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and I believe it's probably the first pictures he took.

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There was this television programme in the early '50s.

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Someone would give them something to taste with their blindfolds on.

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You would have to guess what it is.

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That's how we play the game -

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identifying items by means of our five senses.

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Well, we Mapplethorpe kids made our own Sense And Nonsense game.

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Robert, the little devil that he was,

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went to one of the many ashtrays around the house, which were always full,

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and put ashes in my brother's mouth.

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And they were fuming.

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That's the kind of stuff he did, that kind of needling stuff.

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So he was a devilish guy.

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SHE CHUCKLES

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We never missed Mass on Sunday.

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We always went to church, and I still do.

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I first met Robert Mapplethorpe when I was assigned to Our Lady Of The Snows Parish in Floral Park.

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They were active in the parish, you know,

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so I got to know the whole family.

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So Robert just kind of took to me,

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and I, you know, took to him, and he used to paint me pictures.

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He drew me a couple of paintings of the Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary.

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And I thought to myself, he's been too influenced by Picasso.

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But anyway, I have to say that, first,

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he was the only person I knew who could sit on a couch and chew his toenails.

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The other thing was you'd look at Robert, and I think the first thing

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you'd notice is his eyes.

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They were huge.

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And as if he was always looking, always penetrating, always...

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..trying to get through.

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I come from this, you know...

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..suburban America.

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It was a very safe environment...

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..and it was a good place to come from, in that...

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..it was a good place to leave.

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He never quite really fit in...

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..with all these other teenage boys, you know.

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There was something very fragile about Robert.

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Robert was Mum's favourite.

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I don't know why, though.

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I can't put my finger on specific things, but I would say, oh,

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Robert was her favourite.

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-ROBERT:

-Sometimes, that just wasn't enough for me.

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Robert was smart. Everything came easy to him.

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I worked like a dog for my marks, but he graduated at 16.

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-ROBERT:

-As soon as I could, I started art school training, and I moved to Brooklyn.

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My dad was basically against it.

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My father thought...

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..you can do it as a hobby, but what are you ever going to do with art?

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Did know that photography and homosexuality share something in common?

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Growing respect for photography in the art world

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occurred simultaneously

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with the growing visibility of the gay rights movement.

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Each suffered a gauntlet of prejudice during their coming-of-age.

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Just as Mapplethorpe was starting out,

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to be openly gay was still very much a cultural taboo, and photography was

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considered not much more than a utilitarian medium

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and applied art, a bastard of the arts.

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He was very young when he started Pratt.

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He just looked like a little boy and people made fun of him.

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That time, his name was Bob Mapplethorpe.

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And to further diminish him...

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..they called him Maypo because that was a children's cereal back

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in those days.

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# I want my Maypo I want my Maypo... #

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He was not macho.

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# I want my Maypo! #

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It makes you strong.

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He told me he would take his father's negatives to class and present them

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as his own work.

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He was a fuck-up!

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So I was interested in his experience at Pratt

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and how he found himself as an artist there.

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Is that a self-portrait?

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Yes. This one's actually ink so I'm imagining he rolled an oil-based ink

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-onto his face.

-Yeah.

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It's kind of hard to comprehend.

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The psychedelia of it, too.

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He was really into acid at the time.

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We both had a similar background.

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Right off the bat, I think we kind of hit it off.

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He started taking drugs -

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smoked marijuana, LSD.

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We both were living on candy bars and cigarettes, basically.

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And he was getting really skinny and we were both really pale-looking.

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But we smoked, and so he put LSD in the cigarette.

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I completely lost my memory, and so...

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..I, er...

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I don't know, I'm losing track. I'm kind of like having a...

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I'm going back there too much, I guess.

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ROBERT: When I was in art school, I'd stay up all night stoned,

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trying to think. What hasn't been done?

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I was obsessed with trying to come up with a new

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approach to art, to be unique somehow.

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Bob and I realised, you have to get a little name recognition, and sometimes

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the weird thing can work well for you.

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So, somewhere along the way there, he had purchased this little monkey.

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He named it Scratch.

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And I did some really nice drawings of Scratch.

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The monkey had some bad habits.

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The monkey masturbated a lot.

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The monkey threw crap at you sometimes.

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And he would walk around with the monkey on his shoulder,

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and he was wearing a black cape.

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Robert and I graduated Pratt in '67,

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the Summer of Love, and blah, blah, blah.

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And here's Robert standing all by himself, in a corner,

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you know, hiding his face.

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He's extremely mysterious.

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And that's who he was.

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The final project for both of us was to make a musical instrument out

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of a bone. Then, I remember, I got a call from Bob.

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And he was all kind of weepy, and he said, "I don't know what to do,

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"Scratch has died." It was maybe two o'clock in the morning,

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he came in and he was really shook.

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He said, "I boiled Scratch's head,

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"and I've got my bone, but, you know, it was terrible.

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"It smelled terrible, I hated doing it, I had to cut his head off."

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So he aced the project.

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Yeah.

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ROBERT: There was a lot of negativity, even at Pratt, toward what I did.

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People would say, oh, that isn't art,

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that isn't the way you make art, and I just did it the way I wanted to do it.

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Robert set himself apart from his classmates.

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It's a beast, and this is his backside.

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It's a pose that he uses himself later on in self-portraits.

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If you compare it to Bullwhip, that backward pose,

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he already has it in his mind.

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The last time I saw Bob, he had no clothes on, he was afraid,

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he had all the furniture stacked up against the door and he was really

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beside himself, and he said...

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.."I'm afraid, I'm afraid, someone's coming, someone's coming. Could you give me 20?"

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I met Robert accidentally, and he was just a boy.

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I mean, we were both 20,

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he was a kid going to Pratt, and we fell in love,

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and he was my boyfriend.

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-ROBERT:

-It was the first time I had ever been in love with anybody.

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The fact that it was somebody as unique as Patti...

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I mean, she was a magical kind of person,

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so, like, you know... And she was...

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..supportive of what I was doing,

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of my magic, and I was supportive of her magic. Neither one of us were

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ever jealous, so it was, like, a storybook relationship.

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He helped me to build confidence in my work and to think of myself as artist,

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to have a concept of oneself as an artist.

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That was always really important to Robert,

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not as an apprentice, not as a student, but as an artist.

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I loved photographing my friends, and Robert called me and said,

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"Can you do some naked pictures of Patti and me?

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"I want to make a little film called Garden Of Earthly Delights."

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So then we set up lights on the back of a chair and I just took the pictures

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that he asked for.

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Robert and Patti were so beautiful in such an interesting way,

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in an unconventional way, I think.

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He exuded this kind of androgynous sexuality, and so did Patti.

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Patti was drawing all the time and Robert was drawing all the time and

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making things.

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It was messy, there was stuff hanging around, tacked up on the walls,

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it looked like a scene from a Godard movie.

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We sat for hours and hours, night after night, drawing and,

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you know, drawing from each other as well as drawing.

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I'm a thief. And I dig it!

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A good thief never hesitates, a good thief steals clean.

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And now I'm stealing now. And now I'm stealing now.

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And now I'm stealing now.

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The Chelsea has been home for more than a century to a colony of artists

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who have also celebrated it in books, poems, plays, dance and painting.

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ROBERT: I kept on saying to Patti...

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I loved them.

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We were like a family.

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He kept telling me I was like his sister.

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Patti was working like crazy to let us live.

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She was very generous.

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And she wasn't jealous of me at all, which is wonderful.

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She trusted me with Robert, totally.

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I never was in love with him or had any sexual feelings for him,

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but we were very close.

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We would sit in my totally white empty room at the Chelsea,

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which supposedly had had Oscar Wilde stay in it and had had Jackson Pollock

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stay in it, and I had Warhol's clouds floating,

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the helium clouds. And that's all I had in the room, and a mattress.

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We lived on the floor and it was clean enough to eat off of, and that's

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exactly what we did.

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It was a 25-hour art show all the time or movie set or whatever you would

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want to call the life.

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It was just a life being recorded.

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In a stark sun-drenched studio lives film-maker Sandra Daly.

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I called him up, I said,

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"Could you bring over some of the things and put them up on the walls

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"cos there's nothing here, it's all white?"

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And he came over with the stuff, and I looked and I thought, God,

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leather pants with a cock sticking out! I thought, why not?

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It looked fabulous.

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ROBERT: I was working with

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articles of clothing that were kind of like fetish sculpture.

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If I had a jacket that I wore all the time, I'd put it in a piece.

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So it was like assemblage.

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What's made you live in the Chelsea for the past seven years?

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Um, my friends, I guess, live here, and my teachers.

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-It's my home.

-Robert didn't say much.

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SHE LAUGHS

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He didn't talk at all, did he, in that clip?

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Robert could sit in silence a lot more comfortably than I could.

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I'm Edward Mapplethorpe, Robert Mapplethorpe's brother.

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I was three years of age when he left the house.

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I remember waiting anxiously on my stoop and knowing Robert and Patti

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were coming, and I'd be like, wow!

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Wow, look at these guys! I mean...

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They didn't look like anybody else, they didn't talk like anybody else.

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I would say creature. They were like creatures.

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Just the way he dressed, the way he carried himself, the way his hair was, the way, er...

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It was just...

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It encompassed him.

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The art. The artist encompassed him.

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There was no separation.

0:22:020:22:05

Wow!

0:22:450:22:46

I see them as exquisite.

0:22:480:22:49

Most porn looks amateurish and...

0:22:510:22:55

lower class.

0:22:550:22:57

Just make it look like...

0:22:590:23:03

I think I said a Louis Quinze chair,

0:23:030:23:05

so that it just takes your breath away.

0:23:050:23:09

It doesn't matter what the subject matter is.

0:23:090:23:12

It's like a love story.

0:23:140:23:16

To porn, maybe.

0:23:170:23:18

ROBERT: There was a feeling I could get through looking at pornographic imagery,

0:23:210:23:25

and I thought, if I could somehow retain that feeling,

0:23:250:23:28

maybe it was the forbidden, because I was young, you know,

0:23:280:23:31

that if I could that across and make an art statement...

0:23:310:23:34

..do it in a way that just kind of like

0:23:360:23:38

reached a certain kind of perfection, that I would be doing something...

0:23:380:23:41

..that was uniquely my own.

0:23:420:23:45

Oh, and that one even includes a camera.

0:23:450:23:47

He highlighted it, and this was before he was even making photographs.

0:23:470:23:52

But this is when he started thinking,

0:23:520:23:53

it would be cheaper for me to take photographs than buy all this porn!

0:23:530:23:57

Same great film.

0:23:590:24:00

ROBERT: I wanted raw material that originated with myself.

0:24:010:24:04

I felt that I was stealing them from other people and so that's how

0:24:040:24:09

I started with the Polaroids.

0:24:090:24:11

It was not because I wanted to be a photographer.

0:24:110:24:13

We had a Polaroid camera and Polaroid film was really expensive,

0:24:150:24:19

so my focus was always that Robert got what he needed first.

0:24:190:24:25

And we had so little money for film,

0:24:250:24:27

we concentrated on getting him the film.

0:24:270:24:30

ROBERT: It was all there from the start and,

0:24:310:24:34

when I first started taking Polaroids,

0:24:340:24:36

I was working with photographs that dealt with

0:24:360:24:38

sexuality - portraits, flowers and still lives,

0:24:380:24:43

because I used the still lives to experiment with lighting.

0:24:430:24:46

These are the first times that Robert took emulsion.

0:24:460:24:50

He washed it off of the Polaroid till it floated above the base

0:24:500:24:55

and stretched them out.

0:24:550:24:57

That's me, ugly as ever.

0:24:570:24:59

Here's Patti.

0:24:590:25:00

And that's David Croland.

0:25:040:25:06

I'm really not a model any more, I'm just, you know,

0:25:080:25:11

an object.

0:25:110:25:12

If you want an explanation of why I'm wearing this robe,

0:25:130:25:16

it's for Robert, and Robert liked robes.

0:25:160:25:19

And he liked black silk.

0:25:190:25:21

And I thought twice about it, and then I thought,

0:25:220:25:24

you're not going to think three times.

0:25:240:25:26

Patti is the first girl he photographed for Polaroid, and I was the first boy.

0:25:270:25:32

HE POPS LIPS

0:25:330:25:34

I met Robert in 1970...

0:25:340:25:37

on Memorial Day...

0:25:370:25:39

on a steamy hot day.

0:25:390:25:40

As soon as he got his camera, the film was loaded and my clothes were off,

0:25:420:25:46

starting with...

0:25:460:25:48

a robe, and then the robe was like here, etc, etc.

0:25:480:25:53

He photographed me a lot and, in those days,

0:25:530:25:56

I just thought, who cares, Polaroid film?

0:25:560:25:58

I was used to being photographed by the big format, you know, by...

0:25:580:26:01

Should we drop some names? Someone said, "Stop dropping names."

0:26:020:26:04

I said, "I can't help it if everyone I know is fantastic."

0:26:040:26:07

I thought these Polaroids were like, what the hell are these?

0:26:070:26:10

I saw very quickly that he wasn't just stacking up

0:26:100:26:13

a bunch of Polaroids, he was making stuff out of them.

0:26:130:26:16

He was incorporating them into a new type of art,

0:26:160:26:21

which no-one was doing. No-one.

0:26:210:26:24

And then, someone called Patti to say they were boyfriends,

0:26:270:26:32

so that's...we were busted.

0:26:320:26:35

Patti knew that I was helping Robert,

0:26:370:26:39

so there was no animosity, not at all.

0:26:390:26:42

At least, I don't think so.

0:26:420:26:44

When you're young, you don't have much of a conscience.

0:26:460:26:49

I mean, when you're young, I don't even know if you think.

0:26:490:26:52

I don't even think it's a good idea to think - to this day.

0:26:530:26:57

It's just better to do stuff.

0:26:570:26:59

I had this small amount of money. I could make a movie.

0:27:010:27:05

I said, Robert, you can pick out anything you want to do.

0:27:050:27:09

MAPPLETHORPE: I just thought it would be interesting to have a ring

0:27:090:27:12

through your tit, cos I'd maybe seen it in a movie or something,

0:27:120:27:15

but it wasn't something anybody had at that moment

0:27:150:27:19

and all of a sudden, there was a whole situation where

0:27:190:27:23

I was to get my nipple pierced.

0:27:230:27:25

I had done a number of films for Andy Warhol.

0:27:260:27:29

So I was... As a model, I was used to having the camera trained on me.

0:27:290:27:33

Yes.

0:27:330:27:36

But I had no idea where that film was going.

0:27:360:27:39

Where that film went was to the Museum of Modern Art,

0:27:390:27:42

and it showed there at a big screening.

0:27:420:27:46

MoMo was very crowded and I was writing film reviews then

0:27:460:27:49

for the Village Voice and I remember

0:27:490:27:51

Robert was standing against the wall and he had this sort of angelic

0:27:510:27:56

kind of hair and I guess I had a crush on him and whatever.

0:27:560:28:00

Right away, in my mind, I saw him as an angel and a devil.

0:28:000:28:04

Then Patti has this brilliant monologue

0:28:060:28:09

that she did as the soundtrack.

0:28:090:28:12

I read this book, Robert had this book in his drawer,

0:28:130:28:17

called Leather Boys and like, I picked it up the other night,

0:28:170:28:20

cos he went out and once he got those leather pants,

0:28:200:28:23

he'd be down on Christopher Street.

0:28:230:28:25

Like, he wasn't like my boyfriend or nothing.

0:28:260:28:28

I guess the only reason I don't like it, is cos they've got secrets.

0:28:280:28:32

"In sharp counterpoint to the delicacy of the visuals,

0:28:340:28:37

"is the harsh and hilarious soundtrack by Patti Smith, poet.

0:28:370:28:41

"Robert's ex-girlfriend...

0:28:410:28:44

"..who, it seems, dislikes homosexuals because,

0:28:440:28:47

"A, she feels left out

0:28:470:28:49

"and, B, they use their assholes."

0:28:490:28:52

He called me after the review came out and said that he really liked it

0:28:540:28:58

and could we, like, meet for a cup of coffee or something?

0:28:580:29:01

Robert and I would, you know, meet up at like four in the afternoon

0:29:100:29:13

and go into some deserted restaurant and sit, you know,

0:29:130:29:16

just order coffee and...

0:29:160:29:18

He only had a Polaroid then, he didn't even have a camera.

0:29:180:29:21

But he was already, you know, planning on his first exhibition

0:29:220:29:25

and who he was going to invite and who he hoped would come.

0:29:250:29:29

This is Robert Mapplethorpe's announcement for his first solo exhibition.

0:29:290:29:33

The envelope is embossed by Tiffany & Co.

0:29:330:29:37

It was a show of Polaroids.

0:29:380:29:41

He encased his announcement in the "don't touch here"

0:29:410:29:45

safety cover from the Polaroid film pack.

0:29:450:29:48

Mapplethorpe says in several interviews,

0:29:480:29:51

an exhibition doesn't begin when you go to the opening,

0:29:510:29:54

it begins when you get the invitation.

0:29:540:29:56

It is a small dot sticker,

0:29:570:29:59

that's really not opaque.

0:29:590:30:02

THEY LAUGH

0:30:020:30:04

What do you want the viewer to feel when they open that invitation?

0:30:050:30:09

MAPPLETHORPE: I want them to remember, that's all, you know.

0:30:090:30:12

You're thinking of what?

0:30:120:30:14

Standing out from this huge morass of...

0:30:140:30:17

Being more... Why can't it be in terms of one's whole lifestyle?

0:30:170:30:20

You know what I'm saying?

0:30:200:30:22

The whole point of being an artist

0:30:220:30:25

or making a statement is to learn about yourself.

0:30:250:30:28

I think that's the most important part.

0:30:280:30:31

The photographs, I think, are less important

0:30:310:30:34

than the life that one is leading.

0:30:340:30:37

I would just run around and

0:30:480:30:51

give people their food.

0:30:510:30:52

It really was a comprehensive scene of downtown artists,

0:30:530:30:58

not a closed world, but it was,

0:30:580:31:01

you know, almost like a clubhouse, in a way.

0:31:010:31:03

I probably saw Robert almost every night of my life.

0:31:080:31:12

You know, most people that I knew lived in such horrible places

0:31:120:31:16

that you really only knew where they lived if you had sex with them.

0:31:160:31:20

Lots of times in Max's, he would come and sit with me.

0:31:200:31:23

You know, it was probably the time I enjoyed Robert the most,

0:31:230:31:25

because he was an incredibly amusing gossip.

0:31:250:31:27

He was extremely good-looking, in a very particular way. You know?

0:31:270:31:31

No-one that saw Robert did not have a crush on him immediately.

0:31:310:31:37

No-one. Everyone... Dogs liked him.

0:31:370:31:40

He looked kind of like, you know,

0:31:400:31:42

a kind of ruined Cupid, and he was very...

0:31:420:31:46

reliant on his charm.

0:31:460:31:48

You know. In other words, he made great use of it.

0:31:480:31:51

By which I mean productive to Robert.

0:31:510:31:54

Robert was not a hustler. Robert didn't have to hustle.

0:31:540:31:58

People hustled Robert.

0:31:580:32:00

Mainly, out of his pants, if they could.

0:32:000:32:03

Me too, by the way.

0:32:030:32:05

Robert didn't think anything was wrong with his ambition.

0:32:050:32:10

He didn't think of it as selling out.

0:32:100:32:11

He didn't think...

0:32:110:32:13

He just, you know, he pursued it the way that people now do.

0:32:130:32:17

Was Robert ambitious?

0:32:170:32:18

There is no word for it.

0:32:210:32:24

For either of them.

0:32:250:32:26

That is an understatement.

0:32:280:32:30

For both of them.

0:32:310:32:33

Yeah.

0:32:370:32:38

Unbelievably.

0:32:400:32:43

I went away for a summer and when I got back,

0:32:440:32:47

Robert was suddenly into S&M.

0:32:470:32:49

One day, I showed up at his place and he was wearing leather pants

0:32:500:32:54

and it looked like a radio attached to his crotch.

0:32:540:32:57

I said, "What the hell is that?"

0:32:570:32:58

He said, "It's a codpiece, isn't it great?"

0:32:580:33:01

I said, "This is like the beginning of the end,

0:33:010:33:03

"if you keep dressing like this!"

0:33:030:33:04

He started to trick me out in leather jackets and handcuffs.

0:33:040:33:09

They started to get, not me, at all,

0:33:100:33:14

and more him,

0:33:140:33:16

and he wanted me to go, always to go further

0:33:160:33:18

and I thought, "That's not going to happen.

0:33:180:33:21

"I'm a model."

0:33:210:33:23

Sam Wagstaff. I only knew that he was eccentric, handsome...

0:33:240:33:28

And then - when he took me to his loft later that day - rich.

0:33:280:33:34

But right before we went to his loft on Bond Street,

0:33:340:33:37

he spied a little tiny picture of Robert taken in a photo booth,

0:33:370:33:41

with that little sailor cap on.

0:33:410:33:43

He looked like a Jean Genet drawing and he said, "Who is this?"

0:33:430:33:47

I said, "That's my soon-to-be ex-boyfriend."

0:33:470:33:50

So I called Robert up and I said, "Listen, your ship's come in,

0:33:500:33:54

"it's in my harbour, you're going to jump on this boat.

0:33:540:33:56

"You're going to love him, he's going to love you, I can tell."

0:33:560:33:59

They had a date that week and they fell in love, very quickly.

0:34:010:34:06

Sam was his protector, in every way.

0:34:060:34:09

You know, the way that girls are protected by men.

0:34:090:34:12

It was a beautiful match.

0:34:120:34:14

Beautiful.

0:34:140:34:16

Really beautiful.

0:34:160:34:18

I knew other people who had older, like, guys who supported them

0:34:420:34:45

and stuff like that, but Sam devoted himself.

0:34:450:34:48

The career Robert had, I don't believe would have existed without Sam.

0:34:480:34:51

I met him when he moved

0:35:090:35:11

next to us on Bond Street,

0:35:110:35:13

so he was literally the boy next door,

0:35:130:35:16

and we just instantly became friends.

0:35:160:35:20

It is just this little cobblestone street in New York.

0:35:220:35:26

Robert lived at 24 Bond Street

0:35:260:35:29

and Brice and Helen Marden lived at lived at 26 Bond Street

0:35:290:35:33

and I lived at 42 Bond Street.

0:35:330:35:36

And the '70s in New York was very different than now.

0:35:360:35:40

New York was bankrupt.

0:35:400:35:42

Things were pretty corrupt and violent.

0:35:420:35:45

There was a lot of crime.

0:35:450:35:47

And, you know, Bond and Bowery was in the middle of,

0:35:470:35:50

you know,

0:35:500:35:53

people sleeping in the doorways and lying on the streets,

0:35:530:35:57

but it was the art world.

0:35:570:36:00

When we first moved here, I was hysterical.

0:36:020:36:05

I said, "We have just spent 40,000 bucks on this dump

0:36:050:36:08

"and look at this area, look at this, I mean,

0:36:080:36:10

"it's like miles before you can get to a restaurant, a grocery store,

0:36:100:36:14

"you know, a light at night, the place is dark."

0:36:140:36:18

You had this beautiful free-flowing stream

0:36:180:36:20

and then there would be all the soap suds and garbage.

0:36:200:36:23

-Junkies.

-That's the way Bond Street was.

0:36:230:36:25

And now, of course, the last time I tracked it,

0:36:250:36:29

the penthouse in that building I think sold for 19 million.

0:36:290:36:33

I never thought we'd have any money. Did you?

0:36:350:36:40

No, it wasn't the intention.

0:36:400:36:43

I mean, it wasn't as though it was just a band of innocents, you know.

0:36:440:36:49

You came to New York

0:36:490:36:50

because you felt you had to be in New York, you know,

0:36:500:36:54

or else you would have just gone to some place that was nice to live.

0:36:540:36:58

He loved coming over and taking photographs of my bats.

0:37:000:37:04

You know, he wasn't Robert Mapplethorpe in the beginning.

0:37:040:37:07

You know, there was no thought that this was ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE, right?

0:37:070:37:12

-Right, Brice?

-Right.

-Nothing.

0:37:120:37:14

We were just all doing our work and chatting about it.

0:37:140:37:18

We'd go to these funny little used book stores

0:37:200:37:23

and they'd have, like, cardboard boxes filled with old postcards

0:37:230:37:27

and filled with old photo prints and Robert would go through them

0:37:270:37:30

and he'd find, you know, a Weston or Steichen or something.

0:37:300:37:35

You know, it was like no-one knew what it was and it was, like 5,

0:37:350:37:38

or 10, and he would do that much more once he got together with Sam.

0:37:380:37:42

MAPPLETHORPE: What happens is I started collecting photography,

0:37:430:37:46

so I studied it through holding these pictures in my hand,

0:37:460:37:50

which is probably the best way to study photography.

0:37:500:37:53

Robert and I liked to lie on his bed and look at all the photographs

0:37:530:37:57

Sam bought and then he would tell me how much they were worth

0:37:570:37:59

and we would laugh.

0:37:590:38:01

Never having really looked at photographs as art,

0:38:030:38:06

it really took Robert to bring me to photography.

0:38:060:38:10

That's terrific. What are you up to?

0:38:120:38:15

-Working.

-You should see some of Robert's work sometime.

0:38:150:38:18

I'll be getting down after the sale.

0:38:180:38:20

There was something about the quality

0:38:200:38:23

of even the Polaroids

0:38:230:38:26

which startled me.

0:38:260:38:28

Something very knife-sharp about his work.

0:38:280:38:33

I think this is the most intimate thing we have in the archive

0:38:330:38:36

between Sam and Robert.

0:38:360:38:38

Robert doesn't write, so in a way,

0:38:380:38:40

this linen album is his love letter to Sam.

0:38:400:38:44

You can see the dialogue that's going on between them

0:38:440:38:47

-about photography and love and all that sexuality.

-Yeah.

0:38:470:38:52

I used to be slightly embarrassed

0:38:530:38:56

by certain photographs that Robert took.

0:38:560:39:01

He helped me get over that.

0:39:010:39:04

Robert has always liked to play on the edge of pornography.

0:39:170:39:23

MAPPLETHORPE: I always was fascinated with the idea of taking

0:39:230:39:27

a loaded subject like sexuality and somehow bringing it to a level

0:39:270:39:32

that it hadn't been to before.

0:39:320:39:34

He's absolutely wedded to truth

0:39:340:39:37

and opens it up in front of his

0:39:370:39:39

camera in an almost surgical way.

0:39:390:39:43

I remember somebody saying, "You know, you really shouldn't

0:39:430:39:46

"do that because it's going to fuck up your career,"

0:39:460:39:49

and I said I thought it was stupid for him to even think that way.

0:39:490:39:52

I was convinced that what I was doing

0:39:520:39:54

was the right thing to be doing.

0:39:540:39:56

I met Robert in the early '70s

0:40:060:40:10

on Fire Island, where his friend, Wagstaff,

0:40:100:40:14

was renting a beautiful house and they invited me to stay.

0:40:140:40:19

The '70s was a sexual time in Fire Island.

0:40:220:40:26

We went for sex,

0:40:260:40:29

for that beautiful availability

0:40:290:40:32

of sexual encounters.

0:40:320:40:35

I mean,

0:40:350:40:36

the drugs were floating around.

0:40:360:40:40

It was heaven.

0:40:400:40:43

Whenever we went out, I was recognised, right?

0:40:430:40:47

And people stopped me, and Robert liked that

0:40:470:40:50

and he was craving for fame

0:40:500:40:53

and he enjoyed to be seen with me,

0:40:530:40:56

but he was sort of feeling he should be the one who should be recognised,

0:40:560:41:03

and so I agreed, as a friend,

0:41:030:41:06

to pose for him.

0:41:060:41:08

Then when the weekend was over,

0:41:080:41:10

Robert went back to New York City

0:41:100:41:14

to work on his career.

0:41:140:41:17

For me, the ambition was to get laid.

0:41:170:41:19

Robert's ambition was to be a great photographer,

0:41:190:41:23

and that's why he is,

0:41:230:41:24

because in order to be a Mapplethorpe, you had to work hard.

0:41:240:41:29

He walked into my office at Drummer -

0:41:310:41:34

a major gay magazine, where I was the editor,

0:41:340:41:37

wearing leather chaps and a leather jacket,

0:41:370:41:40

carrying a black leather portfolio,

0:41:400:41:42

and said

0:41:420:41:43

"Hello, I'm Robert Mapplethorpe, the pornographic photographer."

0:41:430:41:47

Well, everybody that came to my desk

0:41:470:41:50

was a pornographic photographer.

0:41:500:41:51

The problem in the '70s was everybody was having sex -

0:41:510:41:54

photographers weren't shooting, painters weren't painting,

0:41:540:41:57

writers weren't writing, but Robert was functioning.

0:41:570:42:00

We ended up in bed, then we became bicoastal lovers

0:42:000:42:04

for the next three years.

0:42:040:42:06

He knew that he needed to be written about,

0:42:070:42:09

which was one of the reasons he came to Drummer.

0:42:090:42:11

MAPPLETHORPE: Well, I think life is about using people,

0:42:110:42:14

and being used by people, and that's what a relationship is all about.

0:42:140:42:17

I was just one of many writers that he approached.

0:42:170:42:20

I mean, nearly all of his friends were writers.

0:42:200:42:22

He wanted to be a legend, he told me he wanted to be

0:42:220:42:26

a story told in beds at night around the world.

0:42:260:42:28

He had that kind of drive.

0:42:280:42:30

And in a way that's part of what makes geniuses,

0:42:300:42:34

this self-centredness and this ability to use people,

0:42:340:42:38

so I was someone who could help Robert.

0:42:380:42:40

I had that power of being, you know, editor of Interview,

0:42:400:42:44

but I don't think we used him that much,

0:42:440:42:46

because I was aware that Andy didn't like him.

0:42:460:42:49

He always said "Oh, he's so dirty-looking,"

0:42:490:42:51

and, you know, "He's so creepy..."

0:42:510:42:53

Andy didn't like anybody who took Polaroids, he thought

0:42:530:42:56

he sort of was the only person who should be taking Polaroids.

0:42:560:42:59

But once Andy realised that Robert was with Sam Wagstaff,

0:42:590:43:02

he started to like him.

0:43:020:43:04

So, it was OK for me to then use him for Interview,

0:43:040:43:08

and we sent him to Mustique.

0:43:080:43:10

We met Robert, my husband and I,

0:43:130:43:15

on our way to Mustique,

0:43:150:43:18

in a private little plane.

0:43:180:43:20

I hadn't heard of him at all,

0:43:210:43:23

but I was fascinated by his mind and on top of that,

0:43:230:43:26

he was so good looking.

0:43:260:43:29

He said, at one point, "I want to photograph you,"

0:43:290:43:32

and I said, "No way!"

0:43:320:43:34

And he said, "You know what, you might regret it later,

0:43:340:43:39

"because I'm going to be a fantastic great photographer

0:43:390:43:43

"and you're not going to have your photograph taken by me."

0:43:430:43:46

He was a big hit with the aristocracy

0:43:480:43:50

and he loved Mustique and Mustique loved him.

0:43:500:43:54

He was living this double kind of life where he would be uptown

0:44:050:44:08

at a fancy dinner, and then he would go to The Mine Shaft.

0:44:080:44:13

It looks well worn!

0:44:130:44:15

-I imagine it is.

-Not just a souvenir.

0:44:160:44:18

Well, that was one of the key places he went to find his models -

0:44:180:44:23

The Mine Shaft.

0:44:230:44:25

What went on in The Mine Shaft, for all those years,

0:44:290:44:33

was two floors of the most outrageous sex

0:44:330:44:40

had this side of Ancient Rome.

0:44:400:44:43

All kinds of S&M sex,

0:44:430:44:46

scatological sex, fetish sex - from the sling, to the stocks,

0:44:460:44:50

to the whipping post.

0:44:500:44:52

People talk of the famous bathtub.

0:44:520:44:54

I mean, there was always somebody in it and a ring of men around it,

0:44:540:44:58

one, two, three layers deep.

0:44:580:45:01

Everybody jerking off, touching each other,

0:45:010:45:03

moving just like a scrum around that bathtub

0:45:030:45:06

and then the ones in the first line would piss all over

0:45:060:45:09

whoever was in the bathtub.

0:45:090:45:11

MAPPLETHORPE: The work dealing with

0:45:130:45:15

sexuality is very directly related

0:45:150:45:17

to my own experiences.

0:45:170:45:19

It was an area that hadn't been

0:45:200:45:22

explored in contemporary art

0:45:220:45:26

and so it was an area that interested me

0:45:260:45:28

in terms of making my statement.

0:45:280:45:30

I was in the perfect situation

0:45:300:45:32

in that most of the people in those

0:45:320:45:34

photographs were friends of mine.

0:45:340:45:36

And they trusted me.

0:45:360:45:38

And I felt like,

0:45:380:45:40

almost an obligation

0:45:400:45:42

to record those things.

0:45:420:45:43

Robert and I first met at The Mine Shaft.

0:45:450:45:49

He comes over, and I'm like, "Oh, here it goes...

0:45:490:45:52

"We're going to have an orgy

0:45:520:45:54

"or go down in the basement."

0:45:540:45:56

He was very good-looking.

0:45:560:45:58

You know, all in black leather, it was like...

0:45:580:46:00

It was hot, he said "Let's get out of here,"

0:46:000:46:04

and we went home,

0:46:040:46:07

did a bit of coke, had some sex,

0:46:070:46:09

very, very vanilla sex,

0:46:090:46:12

he looked bored out of his mind.

0:46:120:46:14

And we were up in two hours.

0:46:140:46:16

Just as I was nodding off,

0:46:160:46:19

get up, to do the first shoot.

0:46:190:46:22

We did it like six-thirty,

0:46:230:46:24

seven in the morning.

0:46:240:46:26

He said he liked the light

0:46:260:46:27

coming in the window.

0:46:270:46:29

MAPPLETHORPE: It becomes a documentary, in a sense.

0:46:290:46:32

I like to see it more as an autobiography.

0:46:320:46:35

You know, it's what I'm involved with

0:46:350:46:38

at any given moment.

0:46:380:46:41

Leave that open.

0:46:460:46:47

I did this in a shop window.

0:46:520:46:54

This is Hockney.

0:47:020:47:04

And this is a young film directoress from LA.

0:47:040:47:07

I remember this one time we were at his studio

0:47:080:47:11

and he said, "Do you want to see my private stuff?"

0:47:110:47:15

At that point, all this stuff was really taboo,

0:47:150:47:17

none of this stuff was out in public when he was showing it to us.

0:47:170:47:20

-It wasn't.

-Yeah.

-It wasn't.

0:47:200:47:22

Robert lived, not too far east of my apartment,

0:47:220:47:26

so I just walked there.

0:47:260:47:28

I remember, as I got closer and closer,

0:47:290:47:32

that I felt increasingly more frightened.

0:47:320:47:35

I was a bit anxious.

0:47:350:47:37

I'd look up, and there's Robert, up on the fire escape,

0:47:370:47:42

smoking a cigarette and

0:47:420:47:44

I was like, "OK, here we go."

0:47:440:47:47

Hand-operated elevator.

0:47:500:47:52

Five flights.

0:47:540:47:56

Very low lit.

0:47:590:48:00

Devil figures.

0:48:000:48:02

Mysterious. Creepy.

0:48:040:48:06

The first thing that struck me about him, he was not at all...

0:48:060:48:10

..you know, the kind of person

0:48:120:48:14

that one might think might make these kind of photographs.

0:48:140:48:18

-RECORDING:

-Well, this, er...

0:48:180:48:20

-This will pick up.

-Yes, this will pick up.

0:48:200:48:22

-OK.

-Now....

0:48:220:48:25

He said, "Oh, is that a Sony?"

0:48:250:48:27

And I said, "No, it's not."

0:48:270:48:29

And he said, "Oh, Panasonic. Well, Sony is better."

0:48:290:48:33

And you know, tease me about having the wrong tape recorder.

0:48:330:48:37

In his early work, Mapplethorpe signed with an X,

0:48:390:48:43

so there's a kind of double entendre here.

0:48:430:48:45

Each portfolio,

0:48:470:48:48

has 13 gelatine silver prints mounted on black board

0:48:480:48:52

and signed in graphite.

0:48:520:48:54

MAPPLETHORPE: Sex, is for me,

0:48:590:49:00

probably the most important thing in life.

0:49:000:49:03

You know, it's the one area that

0:49:030:49:06

offers a bit of magic, a bit of something we don't know about.

0:49:060:49:10

Just seeing how his little brother reacted, he just, he dug it.

0:49:110:49:14

He loved to get a jolt out of people

0:49:140:49:18

and...a reaction.

0:49:180:49:22

Because...

0:49:220:49:25

it was power. They were powerful.

0:49:250:49:27

RECORDING: Any sexuality, like I portray it, it's very much today,

0:49:270:49:31

but people will, you know,

0:49:310:49:32

it will take a few years for people to realise that.

0:49:320:49:35

You don't think that you're just existing in a specialised

0:49:350:49:38

-kind of subculture?

-New York is specialised,

0:49:380:49:41

but what happens in New York is indicative of America, finally.

0:49:410:49:45

If I was going to pick an image that I thought was humorous,

0:49:460:49:50

I would pick the man in a rubber suit

0:49:500:49:52

-with a hose coming out of his mouth.

-Mm-hmm.

0:49:520:49:54

That's really disgusting!

0:50:020:50:04

I'd grown up with abstract art and conceptualism and...

0:50:130:50:18

..you know, nude men in rubber suits were not part of my art education.

0:50:210:50:27

So...

0:50:280:50:31

it was hard to know how to talk about them.

0:50:310:50:34

MAPPLETHORPE: I was always amazed that it shocked.

0:50:350:50:38

I mean, just cos once I had a photograph and had taken it,

0:50:380:50:41

it wasn't shocking to me any more.

0:50:410:50:43

I'd been through the experience.

0:50:430:50:45

Just watching me. Even though I was perhaps being tested that day,

0:50:460:50:50

I wasn't going to fail.

0:50:500:50:52

I was like, you know, "This is cool."

0:50:520:50:55

"This is cool."

0:50:570:50:58

MAPPLETHORPE: Maybe they're the best or most important pictures

0:51:020:51:04

I've taken. When one sees something

0:51:040:51:06

you've never seen before, it's rather important.

0:51:060:51:10

I mean, still, I can show those to people and they will have never seen

0:51:100:51:12

that image before, so it opens something up

0:51:120:51:15

and I think that is what art is about,

0:51:150:51:18

it is opening something up.

0:51:180:51:19

A couple of times, he was like,

0:51:210:51:22

"So, what do you think Dad would say about that one?"

0:51:220:51:25

There were two that particularly,

0:51:250:51:28

you know, took my breath away.

0:51:280:51:30

One was a pinky inserted into a penis.

0:51:300:51:32

That was like, "Oh, my God."

0:51:360:51:38

And the other one was the fist.

0:51:380:51:40

"Oh, OK, Robert."

0:51:440:51:47

I guess you definitely found your voice.

0:51:480:51:51

MAPPLETHORPE: I wanted to do a great fist-fucking photograph,

0:51:530:51:55

so I did that picture,

0:51:550:51:57

and then he said, "Now it's your turn."

0:51:570:51:59

He sort of pinned me against the wall and said...

0:51:590:52:02

Anyway once I had the picture taken,

0:52:070:52:09

I thought it was a really good picture.

0:52:090:52:11

But most people would say that image was a horrible image of yourself.

0:52:110:52:14

It's a good one.

0:52:170:52:19

Robert, he said,

0:52:200:52:21

"I can't have you go home without giving mum and dad something."

0:52:210:52:24

So he just went...

0:52:240:52:26

And signed it "For mum and dad."

0:52:260:52:28

It was certainly better than anything else they had up on the wall.

0:52:280:52:32

Sorry!

0:52:320:52:34

It was an Easter lilies print.

0:52:350:52:37

Are you proud of your son?

0:52:380:52:40

The artwork he did, yes.

0:52:400:52:42

But for some of the photographs that he took,

0:52:430:52:46

I just could not accept them either.

0:52:460:52:48

He did a beautiful job on flowers.

0:52:490:52:52

There was tension, there's no doubt about it.

0:52:520:52:55

One time in particular, being very, very uncomfortable

0:52:550:52:58

because my father wouldn't look at Robert.

0:52:580:53:00

My father was an electrical engineer.

0:53:020:53:05

He wore one of those pen-holders.

0:53:050:53:07

Robert would make his attempts, he came with a Polaroid camera one time

0:53:070:53:10

and gave the camera to my father to...

0:53:100:53:13

He did a Polaroid of Robert.

0:53:130:53:15

After he left, my father making mention

0:53:160:53:19

of how Robert shook people's hands.

0:53:190:53:21

It wasn't a manly handshake,

0:53:220:53:24

it was a soft-set handshake.

0:53:240:53:27

Let me say this, that I thought he was for quite a length of time,

0:53:290:53:35

but I would never even mention it to my wife,

0:53:350:53:38

because as far as my wife is concerned, he was her favourite.

0:53:380:53:42

He and Patti told my parents they were married.

0:53:420:53:45

I remember sending her birthday cards as Patti whatever,

0:53:450:53:49

Mrs Robert Mapplethorpe.

0:53:490:53:52

You know?

0:53:520:53:53

I think my father always had his suspicions, though.

0:53:530:53:56

There's no pictures.

0:53:560:53:58

You know, there's no certificate.

0:53:580:54:01

Did you resent the fact that he was gay?

0:54:010:54:03

I did, yes.

0:54:030:54:04

I guess I did, yes.

0:54:040:54:07

He never spoke to me about it.

0:54:070:54:09

Cos he knew I would never accept it.

0:54:100:54:13

Admitting that he was gay or telling me that he was gay,

0:54:140:54:17

that wouldn't have helped matters at all...

0:54:170:54:19

..because, I probably would have had more resentment

0:54:200:54:24

to that fact if he had TOLD me.

0:54:240:54:26

So he was really not part of the family.

0:54:300:54:33

You know? And it's sad, it's sad.

0:54:330:54:36

I so wish I could talk to him now about it all, you know?

0:54:360:54:41

But...

0:54:410:54:43

yeah, Robert always wanted to be famous

0:54:430:54:45

and he became famous.

0:54:450:54:47

Dear Lloyd, I finally have a gallery in New York.

0:54:470:54:51

It's run by a woman named Holly Solomon

0:54:510:54:53

but you probably have never heard of it,

0:54:530:54:56

but it doesn't seem to be a bad place to be for the moment.

0:54:560:54:59

I said, "Before I show your work,

0:55:000:55:04

"I would like you to do my portrait."

0:55:040:55:07

And when he took my portrait,

0:55:070:55:10

I was convinced that he was an artist,

0:55:100:55:13

convinced that he could manipulate people extremely well -

0:55:130:55:18

and I use the word manipulate -

0:55:180:55:21

and so I said, "OK, let's do a show."

0:55:210:55:24

Sam Wagstaff was a great photography collector.

0:55:240:55:27

Holly Solomon said, "I wouldn't have touched Robert without Sam

0:55:270:55:31

"and there are others like me who felt the same way."

0:55:310:55:33

He had two shows in one day.

0:55:380:55:40

One was the S&M pictures

0:55:400:55:43

and then one were the pictures for, you know, the uptown trade.

0:55:430:55:46

And then there was a dinner that Sam gave,

0:55:470:55:49

a black tie dinner at One Fifth Avenue.

0:55:490:55:51

It was carefully thought out, it was like an ad campaign, and it worked.

0:55:510:55:55

MAPPLETHORPE: Sometimes I think it's better for the public

0:55:550:55:58

to be able to separate things,

0:55:580:56:01

because, when you mix them all up,

0:56:010:56:04

the sex thing overpowers it

0:56:040:56:06

and what happens is they just pick sex pictures out

0:56:060:56:08

and that becomes the show.

0:56:080:56:10

What would you say to those people

0:56:100:56:12

who accuse you of having a dirty mind?

0:56:120:56:15

Well, I don't know what that means exactly.

0:56:160:56:19

I mean, I think everybody, in one way or another,

0:56:190:56:22

is involved in sexuality,

0:56:220:56:24

so if you believe that sex is dirty,

0:56:240:56:26

everybody has a dirty mind, I suppose.

0:56:260:56:29

But I never consider sex being dirty.

0:56:290:56:32

The image that particularly riveted me was Mark Stevens,

0:56:340:56:38

Mr 10 1/2,

0:56:380:56:40

with his penis and balls laid out on the pedestal as if

0:56:400:56:44

they were a work of art, which, in his case, they were.

0:56:440:56:49

So...

0:56:490:56:50

Artistic photography is controlled by very civilised people

0:56:500:56:55

in New York City and

0:56:550:56:58

in essence, he was glamorising the penis,

0:56:580:57:03

which is a very uncivilized thing to do.

0:57:030:57:07

He sold one only.

0:57:080:57:10

So I bought the whole show from Robert,

0:57:120:57:15

figuring, "OK, stuck is stuck."

0:57:150:57:18

He said, "I want to go uptown," and he brought me a present.

0:57:280:57:32

The present was a self-portrait with the whip up his...

0:57:320:57:36

..tush. And my husband, he was quite insulted

0:57:380:57:41

and he said, "I'm going to rip it up!" And I said, "No, you're not.

0:57:410:57:44

"Someday I'm going to get handsomely paid for that photograph."

0:57:440:57:47

Is that making a statement about myself?

0:57:470:57:49

You know, it's one aspect of everybody, I suppose.

0:57:490:57:52

You know, the demon within.

0:57:520:57:55

There's a sense of humour in what I'm doing

0:57:560:57:59

which I hope people pick up on.

0:57:590:58:01

Sometimes they do and I'm always pleased when people see that.

0:58:010:58:04

I don't think he could have produced

0:58:040:58:06

the work he produced

0:58:060:58:07

if he hadn't been raised Catholic.

0:58:070:58:09

I think the way I arrange things is very Catholic.

0:58:090:58:12

Even though I was never a religious person,

0:58:120:58:15

I think it's rather important as an influence on my life.

0:58:150:58:19

The imagery was what was important to him,

0:58:190:58:23

not the dogma.

0:58:230:58:25

There's something very ritualistic about sadomasochism.

0:58:250:58:29

It's kind of a black mass basically, right.

0:58:290:58:33

His S&M work is based on the Catholic martyrology.

0:58:350:58:39

As grade schoolchildren,

0:58:430:58:45

we hear tales of Saint Agatha tied to a stake

0:58:450:58:49

and her tits torn off with a red-hot pinchers.

0:58:490:58:52

If you're a little kid and hear that, twisted in a certain way,

0:58:520:58:55

all of a sudden you're excited and not horrified.

0:58:550:58:58

I'm really not, you know, into sadomasochism.

0:59:010:59:05

You know, I don't encourage it with other people either,

0:59:050:59:09

but I really felt as though there was a struggle in Robert

0:59:090:59:15

between the crucifixes and devil images -

0:59:150:59:20

good, evil -

0:59:200:59:23

there is a great conflict there.

0:59:230:59:25

He liked the fact that I had been in the seminary for many years

0:59:250:59:28

and was an ordained exorcist in the Catholic church.

0:59:280:59:31

And because I was trained to be a priest,

0:59:320:59:35

he was very confessional to me.

0:59:350:59:37

"Dear Jack, it's midnight.

0:59:370:59:39

"MDA ingested, only the first signs now visible.

0:59:390:59:43

"I've been out nearly every night.

0:59:430:59:45

"Tonight is no different.

0:59:450:59:47

"The Mine Shaft is beckoning.

0:59:470:59:50

"Come, go, come, go, come with me.

0:59:500:59:54

"Oh, I almost forgot to tell you.

0:59:540:59:56

"I let some creep stick his hand up my ass.

0:59:561:00:00

"I've been fisted, even came, but I think I prefer being the giver.

1:00:001:00:05

"In fact, I can't help but give preferential treatment

1:00:051:00:08

"to the feeding process.

1:00:081:00:10

"I want to see the devil in us all.

1:00:101:00:15

"That's my real turn on.

1:00:151:00:17

"Love, Robert."

1:00:171:00:19

I have to say that because nobody WILL say it.

1:00:211:00:24

I have to say it and it's not to put him down,

1:00:271:00:30

but it's simply to reveal.

1:00:301:00:32

Robert...

1:00:321:00:34

Satan to him was not this evil monster.

1:00:361:00:39

Satan was like a convivial playmate,

1:00:391:00:43

having a jolly good time seducing the maidens.

1:00:431:00:45

To me it was a bridge too far.

1:00:451:00:48

RUMBLING

1:00:481:00:49

Go away!

1:00:491:00:51

Can we close the doors? I'm getting awfully cold in here now.

1:00:511:00:54

There's a draft. Mark!

1:00:541:00:56

San Francisco, 1978.

1:00:561:01:00

Robert was having a show.

1:01:001:01:01

It was a sex show. It was unusual,

1:01:011:01:04

I mean, you didn't see sex as art in galleries.

1:01:041:01:08

And then someone said,

1:01:081:01:09

"Well, you know, he did the album cover for Horses."

1:01:091:01:11

It was the only black and white album cover.

1:01:111:01:14

And to see an androgynous-looking woman with a jacket

1:01:141:01:17

over her shoulder. I just love, love, love that photograph.

1:01:171:01:20

Robert was holding court and he said

1:01:201:01:22

well, let's have dinner the following night.

1:01:221:01:24

And that's how I met him.

1:01:251:01:27

And then I guess you want to know what happened the following night, right?

1:01:281:01:32

He reminded me of a satyr.

1:01:321:01:34

He literally looked like a mythological creature.

1:01:341:01:37

Like half goat, half man.

1:01:371:01:39

To be in Robert's world, you either had to be rich, famous,

1:01:401:01:45

or sex.

1:01:451:01:47

I wasn't rich, I wasn't famous,

1:01:471:01:50

so it left that.

1:01:501:01:51

As he certainly wasn't monogamous,

1:01:531:01:55

he could have multiple relationships on a weekend,

1:01:551:01:58

but with me there was no S&M.

1:01:581:02:00

It was about being close and spooning, and, you know,

1:02:001:02:03

just the normal, the normal kind of intimate stuff

1:02:031:02:07

that he didn't have from picking up strangers.

1:02:071:02:10

He said I want to do a nude.

1:02:101:02:12

So I said why don't we do something like, you know,

1:02:121:02:14

those pictures of the hunt, you know, where you have like

1:02:141:02:18

the harvest with the dead rabbit

1:02:181:02:19

and the fruit and everything all and about.

1:02:191:02:21

So I thought it was going to be more like that

1:02:211:02:23

and he turned up with just this dead rabbit.

1:02:231:02:25

I said, "What am I going to do with this?

1:02:271:02:29

"Like a mink stole or something?"

1:02:291:02:31

I'm surprised you even know that picture because

1:02:311:02:34

you'll never see a picture of me in any book by Mapplethorpe.

1:02:341:02:38

You really won't.

1:02:381:02:39

The fact that I started getting a reputation

1:02:391:02:42

aside from just being Robert's, cute "with"

1:02:421:02:46

from San Francisco -

1:02:461:02:48

how dare I become a photographer that was well-known?

1:02:481:02:50

This infuriated him.

1:02:501:02:52

He couldn't deal with that.

1:02:521:02:55

"I've had a house guest here for much too long -

1:02:551:02:57

"a very cute boy that I met in San Francisco.

1:02:571:03:00

"He's sweet, intelligent,

1:03:001:03:03

"has a nice cock, but that ain't enough.

1:03:031:03:06

"I wish he'd find an apartment, as he's cramping my style."

1:03:061:03:10

That was probably me.

1:03:101:03:12

I mean, but I've never heard that.

1:03:121:03:14

I mean, I don't know who else he met in San Francisco.

1:03:141:03:17

That's the first time I'm hearing that.

1:03:171:03:19

Hmm.

1:03:201:03:22

Well, it finally isn't enough, is it? What he wanted.

1:03:231:03:26

It's never enough.

1:03:261:03:29

Everything was a means to an end to his career.

1:03:291:03:32

Everything.

1:03:321:03:33

Oh, my God! You guys are old school, I love that.

1:03:401:03:43

The Bond Street loft never changed.

1:03:451:03:47

In the front was sort of no man's land and that's where

1:03:471:03:49

-he used to photograph a lot.

-Studio.

1:03:491:03:51

Then you moved back, and it's this little sitting area

1:03:511:03:54

which is where he would always hold court,

1:03:541:03:56

but across from that was the bedroom.

1:03:561:03:58

-Painted black.

-Black.

1:03:581:04:00

High...gloss, with the handcuff holds above the bed.

1:04:001:04:03

-I never went in there.

-Oh, I did!

1:04:031:04:06

First thing he said to me,

1:04:061:04:08

it's all you have to know is where the darkroom is.

1:04:081:04:10

You know?

1:04:101:04:12

OK, dude, whatever. You know, do your thing, I'll do mine.

1:04:121:04:14

And remember the first image I printed which was just

1:04:161:04:19

a nasty dirty picture.

1:04:191:04:22

It's a guy laying on his back pulling on his nipples.

1:04:221:04:25

It's not a well-known picture but it's a classic.

1:04:251:04:29

-And that's where we went to work every day.

-That's where we went.

1:04:301:04:33

-Yeah, off to work. Here we go.

-Little WASP-y blondes.

1:04:331:04:35

-Yeah, WASP-y blondes.

-Going to the den of iniquity.

1:04:351:04:37

Going to the fist-fucking file.

1:04:371:04:39

Wasn't it funny how soon we became anaesthetised to the sex pictures?

1:04:391:04:43

-To the penis!

-Yeah. I mean, cos it was just daily.

1:04:431:04:46

There would always be film in the morning from the night before,

1:04:471:04:51

so the first thing I'd do is process film.

1:04:511:04:53

He'd come in in his robe.

1:04:531:04:55

"How are the films, Tom?"

1:04:551:04:57

When he saw the image for the very first time, he teased me.

1:04:571:05:02

What do you think of that cock, Tom?

1:05:021:05:04

You know, "Get the fuck out of here." You know?

1:05:041:05:07

I was just out of school, looking for work

1:05:071:05:10

and Robert was like, I don't know how I really feel about this,

1:05:101:05:14

but I am looking for an assistant.

1:05:141:05:17

And I started the next day.

1:05:171:05:20

Because he didn't have a real photo background,

1:05:201:05:23

he was always insecure about, technically, did I get the picture?

1:05:231:05:27

You know, did it come out, did it come out?

1:05:271:05:28

If it had light on it and he'd get it to exposure he was happy

1:05:281:05:32

cos they were all fucked up in the middle of the night.

1:05:321:05:34

MAPPLETHORPE: I'm not a technician.

1:05:351:05:37

I never studied photography.

1:05:371:05:39

I don't particularly care to know it.

1:05:391:05:41

I know what a fine print is.

1:05:411:05:43

I would probably have less than half the number of photographs

1:05:441:05:47

if I did my own developing and printing.

1:05:471:05:50

But he always had coke.

1:05:511:05:53

I was the only guy he gave coke to cos he wanted me to keep going.

1:05:531:05:56

He wasn't generous. But, you know,

1:05:561:05:58

"If I give Tom a little coke he'll print faster."

1:05:581:06:01

You know?

1:06:011:06:02

Yeah, Tom, he'd go in the darkroom and get me a bump.

1:06:021:06:05

You know, my father said to me,

1:06:071:06:09

"How can Robert call himself a photographer

1:06:091:06:12

"if he doesn't even know how to process a roll of film?"

1:06:121:06:14

But Robert had vision.

1:06:141:06:17

He always had a certain way of seeing things,

1:06:171:06:20

so how you got there didn't really concern him so much.

1:06:201:06:26

He wanted everything to just be flawless.

1:06:261:06:30

You know, let's make this guy's arm meet this corner

1:06:301:06:34

and let's straighten it out a little bit.

1:06:341:06:36

"But it's a guy pissing in another guy's mouth, what the fuck's the difference?"

1:06:361:06:40

He wanted things as...

1:06:401:06:43

you know, unrealistically

1:06:431:06:45

perfect and smooth,

1:06:451:06:47

and taking all the flaws out of the skin.

1:06:471:06:50

You know, some days we'd just sit and retouch for a day,

1:06:501:06:53

until all of the blemishes were gone.

1:06:531:06:56

MAPPLETHORPE: I talked to Patti about doing a book

1:07:011:07:04

and having her transform herself

1:07:041:07:07

into all these different characters

1:07:071:07:09

that would have been Patti.

1:07:091:07:11

I mean, she would be this character one day and that character another.

1:07:111:07:14

And I think she had a certain range that

1:07:141:07:17

could have probably carried a whole book,

1:07:171:07:20

but I never did a book with her.

1:07:201:07:22

I met Lisa and I realised that she, in fact, had this range within her.

1:07:291:07:33

A very different range, but it was still worthy of a book.

1:07:331:07:37

I thought she was unique.

1:07:391:07:41

She had this form that I'd never seen before.

1:07:411:07:44

It was like a complete new animal.

1:07:441:07:47

She was particularly important to Mapplethorpe because he was trying

1:07:491:07:52

to balance out his sex pictures with pictures of women.

1:07:521:07:55

Mm-hm. It's so interesting to think about how the female body-building

1:07:551:07:59

idea then was really radical and kind of challenging.

1:07:591:08:03

-That kind of physique to us doesn't seem so shocking.

-Right.

1:08:031:08:07

She's such a prominent subject.

1:08:071:08:10

Very '80s.

1:08:111:08:13

-The make-up, the hair, the ruffled blouse.

-Oh, yeah.

1:08:131:08:16

-Mm-hm.

-The shoulder pads.

1:08:161:08:18

It was prototype for a new species.

1:08:181:08:20

Sort of an animal perfection,

1:08:201:08:22

and I felt in him

1:08:221:08:23

a kind of male version of the same thing.

1:08:231:08:26

My ambition, that I discussed with him, was to explore

1:08:261:08:28

the range of possibilities of ways of being a woman -

1:08:281:08:32

historical ways, contemporary ways,

1:08:321:08:34

cliche ways, unheard-of ways,

1:08:341:08:36

tribal ways, the high fashion-type,

1:08:361:08:39

the sex goddess-type,

1:08:391:08:40

the lingerie-type, the bondage-type,

1:08:401:08:43

the virgin-type, the bridal-type,

1:08:431:08:45

the statue-type.

1:08:451:08:46

What had seemed very daring

1:08:481:08:52

when he did it with men...

1:08:521:08:55

..looked very retrograde when he did it with a woman

1:08:581:09:02

who was dressing up in different hats and garments.

1:09:021:09:07

And so I wrote about that and he was furious.

1:09:101:09:14

I think he called me and yelled at me.

1:09:141:09:16

I feel like

1:09:161:09:18

it may have been a bad idea to write that review.

1:09:181:09:21

I mean, that is sculpture to me.

1:09:231:09:25

You know, that's sort of one of the points I'm making

1:09:251:09:27

in photography, is being a sculptor,

1:09:271:09:31

without actually having to spend all the time sort of

1:09:311:09:33

modelling with your hands.

1:09:331:09:35

You know, that's much too archaic for me.

1:09:351:09:37

It's like inventing sculpture myself with a camera.

1:09:371:09:40

It really is like bronze, you know?

1:09:401:09:42

I often say that photographing black men is like

1:09:421:09:44

photographing bronzes, you know?

1:09:441:09:46

I was the last white intimate person in his life.

1:09:491:09:54

After that he was only sleeping with black people,

1:09:541:09:57

photographing black people.

1:09:571:09:59

He became obsessed with black people.

1:09:591:10:01

MAPPLETHORPE: All I know is that

1:10:081:10:10

it's physically attractive to me.

1:10:101:10:13

Visually it's also attractive,

1:10:131:10:15

and so it became an obsession with me,

1:10:151:10:18

taking these pictures of blacks.

1:10:181:10:22

People would accuse him of exploiting these people,

1:10:221:10:25

and...

1:10:251:10:29

He told me he photographed what he loved to do

1:10:291:10:32

and the people he loved to be with,

1:10:321:10:34

and to me that's not exploitation.

1:10:341:10:37

That's just living your life, and using a camera to document it.

1:10:371:10:43

For the most part, when whites have photographed blacks,

1:10:431:10:47

they've sort of shown them from a certain social point of view.

1:10:471:10:52

I'm photographing them as form,

1:10:521:10:54

in the same way that I'm reading the flowers

1:10:541:10:56

or anything else that are photographed.

1:10:561:10:57

I'm not attempting to make a social statement about their plight.

1:10:571:11:02

Robert was looking for God in a black man,

1:11:021:11:07

and he found him in Milton Moore.

1:11:071:11:12

And fell in love with him.

1:11:121:11:15

Now, I think he fell in love -

1:11:161:11:20

and this sounds ridiculous -

1:11:201:11:22

with Milton's penis.

1:11:221:11:24

Robert was looking for the absolute perfect black penis,

1:11:271:11:32

and he had it, I mean, the exact measurements down.

1:11:321:11:36

I mean, it had to be just so,

1:11:361:11:38

and he'd discuss it with others,

1:11:381:11:40

and, you know, the ratio to this and that.

1:11:401:11:43

The thing the world is most afraid of is penis...

1:11:431:11:46

..and Robert dared show penis, but he dared show black penis,

1:11:471:11:51

and there's nothing more scary, because behind

1:11:511:11:53

all of sexual prejudice is the sex envy,

1:11:531:11:57

this penis envy, that drives people insane,

1:11:571:12:02

either with lust or with fear.

1:12:021:12:05

Milton did say to him as one condition of taking the pictures,

1:12:051:12:09

that he could not show his head in the frame.

1:12:091:12:14

Picture Of Man In Polyester Suit was really one of his most famous.

1:12:261:12:30

Milton had picked up that suit in Hong Kong and was very proud of it,

1:12:301:12:36

and Robert purposely lined up his thumb

1:12:361:12:40

so that it would show off the cheap seams.

1:12:401:12:42

I'd never seen it and then we went to the framers

1:12:461:12:48

and I saw it laying on the floor as it was going to be put into

1:12:481:12:51

the frame, and I said,

1:12:511:12:53

"Robert, this is a show that the whole world will see."

1:12:531:12:58

He said to me,

1:12:581:13:00

"Will anyone write about it?"

1:13:001:13:03

That was his comment.

1:13:031:13:05

And they did.

1:13:051:13:06

"Main picture here is a big black dude seen in an expensive

1:13:061:13:10

"vested gabardine suit

1:13:101:13:12

"with his fly open and his elephant cock sticking out.

1:13:121:13:15

"This picture is ugly, degrading, obscene,

1:13:151:13:17

"but typical of the artist's work, which appeal largely

1:13:171:13:21

"to drooling, lascivious collectors,

1:13:211:13:23

"who buy them and return to their furnished rooms to jerk off."

1:13:231:13:27

We actually did sell that picture,

1:13:301:13:35

during the exhibition,

1:13:351:13:36

to a collector in New York for 2,500.

1:13:361:13:40

It was a reach.

1:13:401:13:42

It was a big price for a photograph

1:13:421:13:45

and especially by a living photographer.

1:13:451:13:49

There were 20 works in the show and we placed all of them

1:13:491:13:53

with very strong collectors, which was very important for Robert.

1:13:531:13:56

This was the first show that had ever happened to him,

1:13:561:14:00

and it was a kind of lightning rod,

1:14:001:14:03

and it was notorious.

1:14:031:14:05

Lot 144, Robert Mapplethorpe's Man In Polyester Suit,

1:14:061:14:10

and I'm going to start the bidding here at 180,000.

1:14:101:14:13

It's possibly one of the top ten most recognisable images

1:14:131:14:17

in photographic history.

1:14:171:14:19

-210.

-220.

1:14:191:14:21

It's an iconic image.

1:14:211:14:23

You know, it's like Andy's Marilyn.

1:14:231:14:26

360. 380.

1:14:261:14:29

390,000.

1:14:291:14:31

None of us realised that photography at its

1:14:391:14:43

beginning was just considered commercial reproduction,

1:14:431:14:46

commercial reproduction.

1:14:461:14:48

Many collectors would never dream of collecting,

1:14:481:14:51

and I think Mapplethorpe is one of the artists

1:14:511:14:56

responsible for photography being considered on an equal basis

1:14:561:15:00

with sculpture and painting.

1:15:001:15:02

I never for a second doubted that photography was a very real art.

1:15:021:15:07

There was something about his photography immediately attracted me.

1:15:071:15:11

I was shocked by his absolute brutal honesty about everything,

1:15:111:15:17

from sexual organs to relationships between people.

1:15:171:15:21

MAPPLETHORPE: You know, the people that have influenced me the most

1:15:211:15:25

are the relationships I've had,

1:15:251:15:27

you know, the lovers I've had in my life,

1:15:271:15:30

and of course I've photographed every one of them.

1:15:301:15:34

The only time that Robert ever cried was talking about

1:15:341:15:36

how much he loved Milton.

1:15:361:15:38

Not Patti, Milton.

1:15:381:15:40

Milton.

1:15:401:15:42

He had just did that show called Black Males

1:15:571:16:00

at the Robert Miller Gallery,

1:16:001:16:02

so I went to go see that show.

1:16:021:16:06

I said, "That's going to be my boyfriend."

1:16:061:16:08

We lived together for the better part of a decade.

1:16:091:16:13

We rarely fought.

1:16:131:16:15

You know, because he was too self-absorbed

1:16:161:16:19

to really care.

1:16:191:16:21

It was so easy to be around him because he was so busy

1:16:211:16:25

being Robert Mapplethorpe.

1:16:251:16:27

When we started seeing each other, he started taking pictures.

1:16:291:16:34

Right?

1:16:341:16:35

And I was kind of shy, so I didn't want to take nude pictures.

1:16:351:16:40

And Robert goes, "Just don't look at your dick.

1:16:401:16:43

He goes, "It's just a picture."

1:16:431:16:45

There is no picture of Ken Moody's dick.

1:16:491:16:52

There just isn't. And I'm sorry.

1:16:541:16:57

As soon as I stepped in front of the seamless, it was magic.

1:16:591:17:03

It was absolute magic.

1:17:031:17:06

There's no way you can describe it other than making love.

1:17:081:17:13

And as soon as we stepped away from that backdrop...

1:17:151:17:19

..nothing, absolutely nothing.

1:17:201:17:24

We had nothing in common, we had nothing to say to each other.

1:17:241:17:27

There was a ghetto element to the men that he had the strongest attraction to.

1:17:271:17:33

I had none of that.

1:17:331:17:35

He's quoted in an article as saying that I was too white for him.

1:17:351:17:39

Too white.

1:17:411:17:43

HE CHUCKLES

1:17:431:17:45

MAPPLETHORPE: I brought them together.

1:17:451:17:47

It was interesting because they'd never met and never had

1:17:471:17:50

a conversation with somebody else that had lost all of their hair

1:17:501:17:53

as a child, and it was interesting to watch them react

1:17:531:17:57

and relate to each other.

1:17:571:17:59

The more time goes by, the bigger that photograph gets.

1:17:591:18:04

When it was in Times Square on the Nasdaq billboard,

1:18:041:18:07

that was like...wow!

1:18:071:18:09

Where's my mother?

1:18:091:18:11

I've read several things on the shot of Ken and I.

1:18:151:18:19

It's like they've tried to read all of this philosophy into it.

1:18:191:18:24

Black Ken, eyes closed,

1:18:241:18:27

meaning the subconscious white Robert, eyes open,

1:18:271:18:31

afraid of the unconscious.

1:18:311:18:34

I'm like, "What?"

1:18:341:18:36

The black man was in the background

1:18:361:18:39

because the black man's neck wasn't long enough

1:18:391:18:43

to reach over the white man's shoulder.

1:18:431:18:47

We tried it, and my neck wasn't long enough!

1:18:471:18:50

I think that's why he did every position...

1:18:501:18:53

-Exactly.

-..to find out what worked best.

1:18:531:18:55

There was no philosophical anything.

1:18:551:18:58

Robert was so not like that.

1:18:581:19:01

No, totally not.

1:19:011:19:03

Take your shirt off.

1:19:031:19:05

Sounds silly, I guess, using the word magic.

1:19:051:19:07

Now fold your arms.

1:19:071:19:09

Stay right there. Lift your head up a little bit.

1:19:091:19:12

I was able to pick up the magic of the moment and work with it.

1:19:121:19:15

You know, that's my rush in doing photography.

1:19:151:19:18

Hold that! Hold that.

1:19:181:19:20

Tilt a little right and turn a little right.

1:19:201:19:22

Turn your head to the right.

1:19:221:19:24

Now bring your eyes back to me.

1:19:241:19:26

Look back here. Lean right, turn right.

1:19:281:19:31

Put your head down. Now bring your eyes up.

1:19:311:19:34

Click, click, click, click. Eyes to me.

1:19:341:19:37

Click. Chin up.

1:19:371:19:39

Turn this way.

1:19:391:19:40

Turn your head this way.

1:19:411:19:43

Yeah. More. More. More.

1:19:431:19:46

And gently, instead of looking to the side, look straight out.

1:19:461:19:49

Often I'm dealing with fractions of inches.

1:19:491:19:51

Now turn.

1:19:511:19:53

Just, yeah, from the neck. Stay there.

1:19:531:19:55

I'm looking for that perfect position

1:19:551:19:57

where the head sort of somehow makes sense to me.

1:19:571:20:01

Actually, I should take it with all of the things coming in at you.

1:20:011:20:04

Look this way.

1:20:041:20:05

That's rather good, actually.

1:20:071:20:09

I'm going to start showing a series of portraits.

1:20:131:20:16

I'll stop at any point but I don't want to comment

1:20:161:20:20

too much about the pictures cos I want my vision to come across,

1:20:201:20:23

the way I see things.

1:20:231:20:25

That's William Burroughs.

1:20:251:20:27

Philip Glass on the left, Robert Wilson on the right.

1:20:271:20:30

Donald Sutherland, one of the best subjects I've ever photographed.

1:20:301:20:34

Annie Leibovitz,

1:20:341:20:35

one of the most difficult subjects I've ever photographed.

1:20:351:20:38

LAUGHTER

1:20:381:20:40

That's Debbie Harry.

1:20:401:20:41

I sat for him a couple of times,

1:20:411:20:43

which was pretty scary for me the first time.

1:20:431:20:46

Smiling wasn't his thing.

1:20:461:20:48

You know, the way that he saw people,

1:20:481:20:50

was like he was seeing into them or something, or through them.

1:20:501:20:55

I don't think it's necessary to tell you

1:20:561:20:59

who is in each photograph because

1:20:591:21:00

if the pictures are good then they'll transcend who they are

1:21:001:21:03

and it doesn't matter.

1:21:031:21:04

-He became known for the elegance of his portraits.

-Mm-hm.

1:21:041:21:07

And any photographer who takes

1:21:071:21:09

pictures of celebrities is making

1:21:091:21:11

a smart business move because

1:21:111:21:13

those people and their friends have

1:21:131:21:15

lots of money and they buy pictures.

1:21:151:21:17

Yeah. Well, and his social life was a part of his artistic life.

1:21:171:21:20

-That's right.

-It was very interconnected.

1:21:201:21:23

MAPPLETHORPE: Ideally, you get the subject to a point

1:21:311:21:35

where they direct themselves.

1:21:351:21:37

They say, "This is really what I want to be photographed doing."

1:21:371:21:40

I thought it was going to be a catastrophe, and I prepared for it,

1:21:401:21:44

so I did take a piece of mine.

1:21:441:21:47

It was a good collaboration, right, because he's famous

1:21:471:21:50

not for his flower pictures.

1:21:501:21:52

He's famous for his objectionable sexual representation.

1:21:521:21:57

You know, taking pictures of sex is no different than

1:21:571:22:00

photographing a flower, really. I mean, it's the same thing.

1:22:001:22:03

It's just submitting to whatever's going on and trying to get

1:22:031:22:07

the best possible view of it.

1:22:071:22:10

Nobody else can photograph flowers the way I do.

1:22:101:22:14

It's just the way I see.

1:22:141:22:16

Even Robert said that the pictures started getting very, very slick.

1:22:171:22:20

That was the word.

1:22:201:22:21

So slick, so perfect.

1:22:211:22:23

But perfection, that's a Mapplethorpe characteristic.

1:22:241:22:28

Perfection.

1:22:281:22:30

Anybody who was involved in that studio will agree with me

1:22:341:22:39

that you just got sucked into Robert's world.

1:22:391:22:43

You wanted to.

1:22:431:22:45

I mean, you just did.

1:22:451:22:46

It was an interesting world, it was a lot of excitement,

1:22:461:22:49

it was a lot of fun, but I wanted to do something else.

1:22:491:22:52

I can't just be Robert's assistant for the rest of my life.

1:22:541:22:57

So then the invitation gets sent out.

1:23:021:23:05

Nice group of artists.

1:23:051:23:07

All alphabetical.

1:23:071:23:08

And lo and behold,

1:23:081:23:10

Edward Mapplethorpe comes before Robert Mapplethorpe.

1:23:101:23:14

And he was...

1:23:141:23:16

ruthless.

1:23:161:23:17

He was...nasty,

1:23:171:23:20

and said,

1:23:201:23:23

"I'm not going to have any kid brother,

1:23:231:23:25

"I've worked really hard to get where I've gotten,

1:23:251:23:29

"and if you think you're going to come and ride on my coat-tails..."

1:23:291:23:33

And I was like, "Fuck, man," I was like...

1:23:411:23:44

Wow!

1:23:471:23:48

And Robert asked him to change his name,

1:23:481:23:51

which he struggled with, I think, for a while, but then did.

1:23:511:23:55

-He changed it to Maxi.

-Right.

1:23:551:23:57

But...

1:23:571:23:59

It was all about Robert, it was ALL about Robert.

1:23:591:24:04

You know, they were brothers.

1:24:041:24:05

I can't imagine what all that was like.

1:24:051:24:08

You know, it was a futile attempt because everyone would go,

1:24:081:24:13

"This is Edward Maxi, he's Robert Mapplethorpe's brother."

1:24:131:24:17

I was like what good is this doing? This is ridiculous.

1:24:171:24:19

But, yeah, it sucked.

1:24:211:24:23

That day sucked.

1:24:241:24:26

Just like the day that he got angry at me for deciding

1:24:271:24:31

that I was going to leave the studio.

1:24:311:24:33

This is somebody who two years earlier didn't know whether

1:24:331:24:35

he wanted me in the studio with him. Two years later,

1:24:351:24:39

I guess he learned to rely on me quite a bit,

1:24:391:24:43

and was angry, very angry.

1:24:431:24:47

-NEWSREEL:

-The lifestyle of some male homosexuals

1:24:521:24:56

has triggered an epidemic of a rare form of cancer.

1:24:561:24:58

He would go to the bar in the afternoon, pick up someone,

1:24:581:25:02

have sex with them.

1:25:021:25:05

Then go back later that night,

1:25:051:25:08

maybe again pick up someone else,

1:25:081:25:11

and then, towards the end of the night, like a night cap.

1:25:111:25:14

Last weekend, Mayor Koch predicted that The Mine Shaft would close.

1:25:141:25:18

They are selling death.

1:25:181:25:20

Places where death can be distributed.

1:25:201:25:23

They're making love in the street on top of cars and everything.

1:25:231:25:26

This is men, grown men. I mean, that's not normal.

1:25:261:25:29

Most of these people, they're not fit, they're not human beings.

1:25:291:25:32

They have emotional problems.

1:25:321:25:34

Cos I was sleeping with him for all of those years,

1:25:571:26:00

I thought I was going to die.

1:26:001:26:02

I had came back from an appointment to get my results,

1:26:021:26:05

he was laying in the bed when I walked in,

1:26:051:26:08

and then he looked at me and said, "You got it, right?"

1:26:081:26:12

I said, "No, no, no, no, no," I said, "I'm negative."

1:26:121:26:15

I remember he got really upset and he goes,

1:26:151:26:17

"Then why do I have it? Why do I have it?"

1:26:171:26:19

And he started like pounding the bed.

1:26:191:26:21

AIDS at the time was pretty much a death sentence, right?

1:26:271:26:30

And he, on the one hand was upset, but on the other hand

1:26:301:26:33

he was fascinated by the demand for his work.

1:26:331:26:37

Like, his market took off when people heard that he was about to die.

1:26:371:26:41

It really took off.

1:26:431:26:45

We were very busy.

1:26:451:26:47

We didn't stop working and he didn't stop shooting

1:26:471:26:49

until he physically couldn't get out of bed.

1:26:491:26:52

He was like, "What am I shooting next?

1:26:521:26:54

"Get me some flowers. Let's do that."

1:26:541:26:55

You know, and the flowers got done, the statues got done,

1:26:551:27:00

the commissioned portraits got done.

1:27:001:27:02

MAPPLETHORPE: One day I'll photograph flowers,

1:27:021:27:04

the next day I'll do some fashion work,

1:27:041:27:06

the next day I'll do some pornography,

1:27:061:27:08

the next day I will do a portrait. You know, I don't really care.

1:27:081:27:11

I sort of thought I should be keeping a journal.

1:27:131:27:15

"I did watch him shoot today.

1:27:151:27:17

"It's so amazing to see how he musters the energy to do the pictures.

1:27:171:27:20

"It absolutely keeps him going.

1:27:201:27:23

"And the money. Funny money."

1:27:241:27:26

Natrel Plus.

1:27:271:27:28

Long-lasting Natrel protection.

1:27:281:27:31

He was never interested in talking about his health.

1:27:311:27:34

All he wanted to talk about were sales and who was looking

1:27:341:27:36

at his work, and when are we going to have a million-dollar month?

1:27:361:27:39

He was interested in making as much money as possible

1:27:391:27:43

and he resented the fact that his contemporaries', like Brice Marden,

1:27:431:27:47

work started selling for several hundred thousand dollars,

1:27:471:27:50

and Robert's works are selling for 1,100.

1:27:501:27:53

Mapplethorpe had a sort of jealous

1:27:551:27:57

or competitive relationship with Warhol.

1:27:571:28:00

He would say to me, weekly, "If I die,

1:28:011:28:05

"will I have died with as much money as Andy Warhol had?"

1:28:051:28:08

And I'd say "No, not nearly."

1:28:081:28:11

Not nearly.

1:28:111:28:12

I remember him saying to me once how frustrated he was

1:28:121:28:15

about being ill because he was getting all this money now,

1:28:151:28:19

and he actually said "I won't be able to enjoy it."

1:28:191:28:23

He was not very interested in leaving money to people,

1:28:231:28:27

so the foundation idea really began to appeal to

1:28:271:28:31

him because his money, his assets, his real estate,

1:28:311:28:34

his art collection would support his foundation,

1:28:341:28:38

so it would automatically promote him.

1:28:381:28:40

Robert sent for me for his birthday, his 40th birthday party.

1:28:431:28:47

That's when I was like, whoa.

1:28:471:28:49

This is not good.

1:28:491:28:51

Robert Mapplethorpe's way to interpret me

1:28:531:28:57

was totally different than any other photographer.

1:28:571:29:01

He wanted my hair back, so that was unusual to me.

1:29:021:29:06

Everybody else had always wanted me to do a hairdo.

1:29:061:29:09

He wanted a very, very natural feel.

1:29:091:29:13

I look like an angel on that picture,

1:29:131:29:15

so how can I not be pleased?

1:29:151:29:17

He was the first photographer to

1:29:171:29:20

photograph me completely in profile.

1:29:201:29:23

It's never, he was the only one.

1:29:241:29:26

The profile was just so much more soul-baring.

1:29:271:29:32

I got to sort of study him.

1:29:331:29:35

He didn't seem happy.

1:29:351:29:37

Everything seemed precious and I think there was no sense

1:29:371:29:40

of wanting to waste time or be frivolous.

1:29:401:29:43

In German, you say, there's this word, "getrieben",

1:29:431:29:47

which means as if something is chasing you constantly.

1:29:471:29:51

I used to go and visit him.

1:29:531:29:56

We both sensed that he was dying,

1:29:561:29:58

but we didn't talk about it.

1:29:581:30:00

And he had that very sad expression because he didn't want to leave.

1:30:001:30:04

He wanted to stay.

1:30:041:30:06

You know?

1:30:061:30:07

And one day he said, "I need to take a photograph of you

1:30:071:30:10

"and you need this one because it's going to be the last one."

1:30:101:30:14

That's what he said. I said, "Don't be silly!"

1:30:141:30:17

And it was.

1:30:181:30:19

It was just sort of business as usual until things progressed

1:30:221:30:26

and he was having a harder and harder time getting out of his seat.

1:30:261:30:29

And he had a horrible, horrible cough,

1:30:291:30:31

which I guess was typical.

1:30:311:30:33

Six o'clock would roll around and then he'd sort of be like,

1:30:331:30:36

"Can you come keep me company?"

1:30:361:30:38

You know, it was this little boy. "Don't leave!"

1:30:381:30:41

Little baby voice.

1:30:411:30:43

Robert was in his bedroom,

1:30:431:30:45

not feeling particularly well,

1:30:451:30:47

and he was like, you know, he was like,

1:30:471:30:49

"I'd like to do a picture with my hand holding the skull cane."

1:30:491:30:54

And I said to Brian, I said,

1:30:541:30:55

"Listen, this has got to be a self-portrait."

1:30:551:30:57

And it wasn't often that he'd wanted to take his own picture,

1:30:571:31:01

but he had been trying.

1:31:011:31:02

I took the skull cane and I held it like this and I said,

1:31:021:31:06

"Do a Polaroid."

1:31:061:31:07

So I brought it to Robert and he was like, "Wow!

1:31:081:31:10

"That's good." And his knees started to hurt,

1:31:101:31:13

so we put a chair in for him to sit on.

1:31:131:31:16

That's the classic masterpiece picture.

1:31:181:31:21

It's a tremendous photograph.

1:31:211:31:23

One of the greatest self-portraits of all time.

1:31:231:31:26

-RADIO:

-It is 2:38. Here's the WNBC weather - cloudy, breezy,

1:31:331:31:37

chance of showers and thunderstorms right through the evening.

1:31:371:31:40

The low tonight in low 60s. Right now, 74 degrees.

1:31:401:31:43

There was something electric that day.

1:32:071:32:12

It wasn't just an opening.

1:32:121:32:13

It was a...

1:32:131:32:15

..a memorial with a living corpse.

1:32:151:32:20

Your heart just went out to him because here he was having

1:32:221:32:24

the success that he dreamed of from those days

1:32:241:32:26

in coffee shops in the village,

1:32:261:32:29

and, you know, we could tell he was dying.

1:32:291:32:33

This is... Someone took this picture of me...

1:32:391:32:41

..taking a picture of him.

1:32:431:32:45

He knew what I was doing there.

1:32:451:32:47

I think he understood the whole thing.

1:32:491:32:51

He didn't like it, but he understood it.

1:32:511:32:54

I think that was his proudest day.

1:32:541:32:55

I really do.

1:32:551:32:57

He looked like the king sitting there.

1:32:571:33:00

Had everything from flowers to fist fucking...

1:33:041:33:08

..and I had to go around the room with my mother in a wheelchair.

1:33:091:33:12

Wow! Yeah.

1:33:151:33:16

When I saw the one with the whip, I thought, "Oh, my God!"

1:33:161:33:19

And I remember going to my kids and I went,

1:33:191:33:23

"That's him?!" It was a self portrait!

1:33:231:33:26

He loved attention.

1:33:271:33:29

Even though it had to do with the fact that he was a dying man,

1:33:291:33:33

it didn't matter.

1:33:331:33:34

He was one picture.

1:33:341:33:36

I mean, it stunned people.

1:33:361:33:38

We all sort of were under the impression it was going to be

1:33:381:33:41

this glorious article, when in fact...

1:33:411:33:45

-That was sad.

-Yeah.

1:33:451:33:47

-I'm sure he saw his own mortality.

-Yeah.

1:33:471:33:50

Very clearly at that moment.

1:33:501:33:52

His image out there was this handsome, vain,

1:33:521:33:55

elegant creature, and...

1:33:551:33:57

..people really...

1:33:581:34:00

..were shocked.

1:34:011:34:03

I mean, come on! It was like...

1:34:031:34:05

he was alive!

1:34:051:34:07

Working with Robert Mapplethorpe has been my most enlightening

1:34:151:34:19

and rewarding curatorial experience.

1:34:191:34:23

I felt that Robert Mapplethorpe's work was so important,

1:34:231:34:27

so I went to New York and visited him at his studio.

1:34:271:34:31

We started to talk.

1:34:311:34:33

He was very easy to talk to.

1:34:331:34:35

I felt after five minutes that I'd known him a long time.

1:34:351:34:39

MAPPLETHORPE: Have you ever seen the X, Y, Z Portfolios?

1:34:391:34:42

There's an X portfolio, which is sex pictures.

1:34:421:34:46

There's 13 of them.

1:34:461:34:48

Then there's Y, which is flowers.

1:34:481:34:50

And there's Z, which is blacks.

1:34:501:34:52

He was particularly interested in showing the X, Y, Z series,

1:34:521:34:57

which had not been shown before in its entirety.

1:34:571:35:01

Maybe interesting to have a wall where you have a row

1:35:011:35:04

of X, Y and Z all in one mass, or in three rows or something.

1:35:041:35:09

We devised a way of displaying them

1:35:091:35:11

in a case that would be so high

1:35:111:35:15

that a child could not see into it.

1:35:151:35:17

But an adult could look down upon it.

1:35:181:35:20

I remember showing my husband some of the pictures

1:35:201:35:23

before the exhibition opened.

1:35:231:35:27

He said, "Janet, do you know what you're doing?"

1:35:271:35:29

But I didn't listen to him.

1:35:291:35:31

Maybe I was crazy!

1:35:311:35:33

Hi, Robert. Here we are.

1:35:391:35:41

You are with us.

1:35:411:35:44

You're with us and we're with you.

1:35:441:35:46

I think you can tell whether a show is successful

1:35:471:35:52

by the sound in the gallery.

1:35:521:35:54

If people are talking a lot,

1:35:541:35:56

you know somehow the show just doesn't have it.

1:35:561:35:59

In the Mapplethorpe show there was silence.

1:36:021:36:06

You could hear a pin drop.

1:36:081:36:10

This one time, it was a terrible night for Robert and he was almost

1:36:291:36:34

hallucinating a bit and he ended up pulling out some of the IVs

1:36:341:36:38

so I had blood dripping out of his arm, in IVs,

1:36:381:36:42

and I had to, he... I know I had to clean him up.

1:36:421:36:44

He'd shat in the bed.

1:36:441:36:46

And I'm like, "Oh, my God."

1:36:461:36:48

That night Robert looked at me teary eyed, crying,

1:36:481:36:52

and said, "Oh, my God," he's like, "I'm dying."

1:36:521:36:54

I'm dying. And...

1:36:581:37:01

I had to say, "Yeah."

1:37:011:37:02

What can I... I couldn't... I mean, yes.

1:37:071:37:10

Robert gave a going away party for himself.

1:37:201:37:24

A lavish cocktail party at his loft.

1:37:241:37:28

Waiters walking around with silver trays

1:37:281:37:31

with little tiny blini and caviar and champagne.

1:37:311:37:36

It was very elegant.

1:37:361:37:37

And Robert was sitting in the middle of the room.

1:37:491:37:52

I walked up to him and kneeled down at his feet

1:37:521:37:55

and came face-to-face with him.

1:37:551:37:57

He said, "You still look so beautiful," and I said, "Thank you."

1:37:571:38:01

I said, "Well, what do want me to do?"

1:38:031:38:06

He said, "I want you to tell her everything.

1:38:061:38:09

"Keep me alive."

1:38:091:38:11

"March 8th. Well, this is it.

1:38:171:38:20

"The last two days have been hell.

1:38:201:38:23

"The funny part is not knowing how to say goodbye.

1:38:231:38:26

"Letting go. Are words enough?"

1:38:261:38:28

I was just like, come on, Robert,

1:38:301:38:32

just like have a conversation with me and just say, you know,

1:38:321:38:35

"I'm proud of you and keep it going," And, "just do good work."

1:38:351:38:39

I never got it.

1:38:411:38:43

Never got it.

1:38:431:38:44

Some days yes, and some days no.

1:38:491:38:52

You know, on a daily basis,

1:38:521:38:54

I would say in any given day I'm happy part of the time

1:38:541:38:57

and not the rest, you know.

1:38:571:38:58

I think I'm a perfectionist and I think it's hard to be happy

1:38:581:39:02

if you like things to be perfect cos things are not perfect.

1:39:021:39:05

I don't know whether the television cameras can see it or not.

1:39:201:39:23

I'm going to be fast enough with it that you can't.

1:39:231:39:25

But I want senators to come over

1:39:251:39:27

here, if they have any doubt,

1:39:271:39:29

and look at the pictures.

1:39:291:39:31

I don't even acknowledge that it's art.

1:39:321:39:35

I don't even acknowledge that the fellow who did it was an artist.

1:39:371:39:40

I think he was a jerk.

1:39:401:39:41

-CHANTING:

-Keep your hands off! Keep your hands off.

1:39:411:39:43

This line is for two o'clock only.

1:39:501:39:52

You need a pass to get in to see the exhibition.

1:39:521:39:55

..it happened. What you're watching now is the Cincinnati police

1:40:071:40:10

as they made their move today

1:40:101:40:11

against the Contemporary Arts Center.

1:40:111:40:13

They temporarily closed the controversial Robert Mapplethorpe

1:40:131:40:16

exhibit that resulted in charges today against

1:40:161:40:18

the Contemporary Arts Center and its director.

1:40:181:40:21

It's an important exhibition,

1:40:211:40:23

it's important for the city that it be seen here.

1:40:231:40:25

It was suggested that I wear a bulletproof vest.

1:40:291:40:32

There were the calls to the home or the calls to my office,

1:40:321:40:34

saying we're going to kill your children.

1:40:341:40:36

The art gallery and its director are charged with obscenity

1:41:121:41:15

for exhibiting photographs by the late Robert Mapplethorpe.

1:41:151:41:19

The jury took about two hours to come up with its decision.

1:41:221:41:25

We the jury in this case find the defendant

1:41:251:41:27

-not guilty of obscenity...

-SPEECH DROWNED BY CHEERING

1:41:271:41:30

Next up is the Robert Mapplethorpe flag,

1:41:401:41:43

the great Star-Spangled Banner, gelatine silver print.

1:41:431:41:46

48,000 now gets us going.

1:41:461:41:48

48,000, 48,000. 55,000.

1:41:481:41:51

60, 65,000. Thank you, ma'am.

1:41:511:41:53

He was always giving me his work.

1:41:531:41:55

70,000, with Caroline...

1:41:551:41:56

I had at least half a dozen photographs and a collage.

1:41:561:41:59

70,000...

1:41:591:42:01

Don't ask me what I did with this, please,

1:42:011:42:03

because if I kept it I wouldn't be here,

1:42:031:42:05

I'd be in my villa in Tuscany.

1:42:051:42:07

I can't discuss it. Too upsetting.

1:42:081:42:10

Sold.

1:42:101:42:12

I threw it away.

1:42:121:42:13

-Sold.

-When I moved.

-Sold.

1:42:131:42:15

I told this once to an art dealer and he said,

1:42:151:42:19

"I can't believe that you didn't know that someone as ambitious

1:42:191:42:22

"as Robert, as clearly as ambitious, wouldn't become famous.

1:42:221:42:25

And I said that no-one could have imagined that photographs

1:42:251:42:28

would be so valuable financially. Cos they weren't.

1:42:281:42:31

No photographs were.

1:42:311:42:33

It wasn't just that I couldn't imagine it, no-one could imagine it.

1:42:331:42:36

Whatever it took...

1:42:411:42:42

..to become Robert Mapplethorpe

1:42:451:42:48

is what it was going to take, and it took his life to do it.

1:42:481:42:54

Literally.

1:42:571:42:59

Mapplethorpe by himself, the name is really great.

1:43:391:43:42

-It's like Titian or...

-Yeah. You know where to go.

1:43:421:43:45

Just the name, that's all you need is the last name

1:43:451:43:48

to recognise the artist. It's so clear and simple.

1:43:481:43:50

What if you stacked three images into the...

1:43:501:43:53

We can't have nudity on the street banners because of city regulations.

1:43:541:43:57

So that's one point of discussion.

1:43:571:43:59

Second is the colour.

1:43:591:44:01

This is a mock-up of the invitation for our opening reception.

1:44:011:44:04

The self portrait on the front,

1:44:041:44:06

then the inside message.

1:44:061:44:07

Then the RSVP card.

1:44:071:44:10

It's just an innocuous flower,

1:44:101:44:12

not anything that the Post Office would object to.

1:44:121:44:14

I'm not planning to put a curtain, but I'm sure

1:44:141:44:16

there will be some kind of warning on the gallery as people go in.

1:44:161:44:20

Well, and with her holding her sculpture.

1:44:201:44:22

-That was purposeful.

-Yeah, so great.

1:44:221:44:25

I wanted to put Louise Bourgeois holding her sculpture, Lafayette,

1:44:251:44:28

which looks like a phallus,

1:44:281:44:30

next to the picture of The Man In The Polyester Suit.

1:44:301:44:33

Yes, with his actual phallus.

1:44:331:44:35

It's a curatorial pun.

1:44:351:44:37