Tag: Catherine Opie

50 Years of The Photographer’s Gallery: 1990s

Reading Time: 3 minutes As The Photographers’ Gallery celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, Director Brett Rogers looks back at its legacy-shaping exhibitions during the 1990s.

15 October 2021

Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now

Reading Time: 4 minutes In the winter of 1988, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, an exhibition opened, triggering outrage. The Perfect Moment, a display of 125 photographs by New Yorker Robert Mapplethorpe, was the most comprehensive show of his work to date – and the most provocative – featuring images he had taken over the previous 25 years, including those of his divisive X Portfolio.

The retrospective came at a difficult time in Mapplethorpe’s life: he was 42, and losing his fight with Aids – the disease that would take his life the following March. Perhaps, for him, this was his final chance to show this expansive oeuvre to the public – most of it shot in his Manhattan loft. But his pristine black-and-white photographs of BDSM scenes, and the sexy, sinewy strangers he met at the Mineshaft sex club, shocked conservative audiences. On a political level, the culture wars in the US were raging.

25 January 2019