Understanding the legacy of New York photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is crucial for anyone trying to navigate the tense relationship between art, censorship, and controversy in 2015. A new HBO documentary titled Mapplethorpe: Look At The Pictures, promises to do just that. Interviews with collaborators like Fran Lebowitz and Debbie Harry (and hopefully his former partner Patti Smith), coupled with never-before-seen archive imagery, almost ensures a comprehensive and unflinching look at Mapplethorpe's life.
Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato are promising a no-holds-barred approach. "“Even his most shocking and forbidden images are included without blurs, without snickers – in other words, exactly as the artist intended." The film is set to debut April 2016, and will almost inevitably be followed by a spate of retrospectives (The J. Paul Getty Museum and LACMA have both announced exhibits in March). Are you ready for the Mapplethorpe revival? We certainly are.