Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect MomentDecember 9, 1988 - January 29, 1989
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment is the first traveling exhibition—and the largest exhibition to date—of the works of one of the most important photographers of our time. Curated by ICA Director Janet Kardon, the exhibition features over 150 works dating from 1969 to 1988, and is on view December 9, 1988 through January 29, 1989. For information on the two-day symposium related to this exibition go to Imperfect Moments: Mapplethorpe and Censorship 20 Years Later.
The Perfect Moment features over 150 silver prints, platinum prints on paper and canvas, recent color photographs, Polaroids, photo-collages that incorporate lush fabrics, and sculptural objects. Subject matter focuses on three traditional genres: still lifes, nudes, and portraits. Included in the show are Mapplethorpe's portraits of such leading visual and performing artists as Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Lucy Ferry, David Hockney, Patti Smith, and Laurie Anderson.
Art critic Kay Larson states in the accompanying exhibition catalog, " he (Mapplethorpe) invests this beautiful thing-in-the-world with an erotic charge that transforms it and ennobles it by the passionate entwining of its nature with the artist's." Speaking of his influence on photography she adds, " photography will never be the same."
The name of the exhibition, The Perfect Moment, is excerpted from Kardon's catalog essay. She writes, "Mapplethorpe captures the peak of bloom, the apogee of power, the most seductive instant, the ultimate present that stops time and delivers the perfect moment into history."
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, DC; the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; the University Art Museum, Berkeley, California; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. This major exhibition coincides with the nationwide "The Sesquicentennial Project: Celebrating 150 Years of Photography in America."
The exhibition catalogue features an interview with the artist, conducted by ICA Director Janet Kardon. Filled with both color and black and white reproductions, the 136-page publication also includes a poem by singer-songwriter and poet Patti Smith, and essays by curator David Joselit, critic Kay Larson, and Janet Kardon. ICA has also produced a special exhibition poster featuring Mapplethorpe's "Irises."
Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment has been funded by Mr. and Mrs. Harold A. Honickman; the Dietrich Foundation; the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Inc.; the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; and the City of Philadelphia.