Monday, April 4, 2016

TV Review: ‘Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures’ on HBO Gives Context to Controversy

By James Poniewozik
The artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Credit Edward Mapplethorpe, via HBO
Every generation gets its own “New York values” panic. Monday’s HBO documentary on the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe begins in 1989, months after his death, with Senator Jesse Helms decrying his work on the floor of the United States Senate. The senator had started a crusade against the National Endowment for the Arts’ funding of an exhibition by “a known homosexual who died of AIDS,” whose work included graphic depictions of sex and S-and-M. “Look at the pictures!” he cried. “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures,” directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, does just that. [link]