Robert Mapplethorpe




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Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, “I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave.”

In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt “it was more honest.” That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel.

Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, “Polaroids.” Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.

In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, “I don’t like that particular word ‘shocking.’ I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them.” Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer.

Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women’s Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book, Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20″ x 24″ Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs’ dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists.

That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989.

His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.

See more: www.mapplethorpe.org

Julien Mandel




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Julian Mandel is the identity given to one of the best-known commercial photographers of female nudes of the early twentieth century.

Signature photography bearing that name became known in the 1910s and was published in Paris through the mid-1930s by such firms as Alfred Noyer, Les Studios, P-C Paris, and the Neue Photographische Gesellschaft.Biographical information on Mandel is scarce and there has been speculation that the name is only a pseudonym.

The models often are found in highly arranged classical poses, photographed both in-studio and outdoors. The images are composed artfully, with exquisite tones and soft use of lighting—showing a particular texture created by light rather than shadow.Reportedly, Mandel was a member of, and participated in, the German avant-garde “new age outdoor” or “plein air” movement.

Numerous pictures sold under this name feature natural settings, playing on the ultra pale, uniform skin tones of the women set against the roughness of nature.The nude photographs were marketed in a postcard-sized format, but as “A Brief History of Postcards” explains, “A majority of the French nude postcards were called postcards because of the size.

They were never meant to be postally sent. It was illegal to send such images in the post. The size enabled them to be placed readily into jacket pockets, packages, and books.

See more: invaluable.co.uk

Milo Manara




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Milo Manara is one of the few comic artists who manages to make erotic comics and still succeed in keeping a reputation as a genuine artist. This is especially true of his serial, ‘Giuseppe Bergman’, which is a combination of experimental narrative and explicit sex. Manara is known to be interested in painting in general and the classical painters like Rafael in specific. As a boy, he even ran away from home to see an exhibition of the painter Giorgio di Chirico.

Born in Luson (Bolzano), Maurilio Manaro initially earned a living by assisting sculptors. He became interested in comix in the late sixties. His first work appeared in the ‘Genius’ pocket books by publisher Furio Vanio in 1969, and in magazines like Terror, Telerompo, and the French magazines Alter-Linus and Charlie Mensuel. Other early creations include the sexy pirate ‘Jolanda’ with scriptwriter Francesco Rubino for publisher Erregi (1971-73). For the children’s magazine Corriere dei Ragazzi, he adapted ‘Le Decameron’ and worked with Milo Milani on the series ‘La Parola alla Giura’.

In 1976 came ‘Lo Scimmiotto’, the first of his more ambitious projects. Manara illustrated five episodes of the collection ‘L’Histoire de France en Bandes Dessinées’ for the French publisher Larousse between 1976 and 1978. In later years, Manara continued to work on similar educational collections, such as ‘La Découverte du Monde en Bandes Dessinées’ (Larousse, 1979), ‘L’Histoire de la Chine’ (1980) and ‘La Storia d’Italia a Fumetti’ (Mondadori, 1978).

Also in 1978, he cooperated with Alfredo Castelli on ‘L’Uomo delle Nevi’ for Cepim and he started with the series ‘Giuseppe Bergman’. This was first serialized in the legendary author comics magazine À Suivre by Casterman and it later also appeared in Italy in books published by Nuova Frontiera. Other work by Manara from this period include a variety of short stories that were published in À Suivre and collected in albums like ‘Trompeuse Apparence’ (Kesselring, 1984).

Manara briefly ventured into westerns with ‘Quatre Doigts, L’Homme de Papier’ in Pilote (1982), before establishing himself as one of the grandmasters of erotic comics. Manara’s book ‘Déclic’ (‘Il Cioco’ or ‘Click’ in English, 1983) was notorious for its erotic subject – a woman transforms into a nymphomaniac when a button is pushed. Initially published in Playmen in Italy and L’Écho des Savanes in France, sequels followed in 1991, 1994 and 2001.

In the years that followed, Manara produced erotic works like ‘Le Parfum de l’Invisible’ (two volumes, 1986 and 1995), ‘Candide Camera’ (1988), ‘Kama Sutra’ (1997), ‘Le Piège’ (1998), ‘Révolution’ (2000) and ‘Piranèse, la Planète Prison’ (2002), and also new stories with ‘Giuseppe Bergman’.

However, Manara also kept on working in other genres. With Hugo Pratt, for whom Manara has great respect, he worked on ‘L’Été Indien’ (in Corto Maltese) and ‘El Gaucho’ (in Il Grifo). Manara also worked with one of his other heroes, Federico Fellini, on ‘Voyage à Tulum’ (Corriere della Serra, 1986) and ‘Le Voyage de G. Mastorna dit Fernet’ (Il Grifo, 1992). With Enzo Biagi he participated in Mondadori’s series about ‘Christophe Colomb’ in 1992.

In 1995, Manara made ‘Gulliveriana’ for Les Humanoïdes Associés, loosely based on the oeuvre of Jonathan Swift. He worked with Neil Gaiman on ‘The Sandman: Endless Nights’ for DC/Vertigo in 2003 and relaunched ‘Giuseppe Bergman’ in BoDoï in 2004. In 2004 Manara teamed up with Alejandro Jodorowsky for a new series about the 15th century Pope family Borgia. He did an ‘X-Men’ project for Marvel with Chris Claremont, called ‘X-Women’, in 2009, and worked with Vincenzo Cerami on ‘Gli Occhi di Pandora’ (‘Pandora’s Eyes’) in the same year. In 2013 he started to do variant covers for issues of Marvel comic books.

Besides comics, Manara has produced a great variety of portfolios and illustrations for collections like Glamour Books. He has also done character designs for the animated TV series ‘City Hunters’.

See more: milomanara.it