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Mapplethorpe at Grand Palais: Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!

May 1, 2014

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It was lights, camera, penis! at the latest retrospective dedicated to the NYC enfant terrible of the 80s. Grand Palais was filled with imagery filtered in black and white geometrical nudity and more curious than not tourists that were ready to instagram the life out of those naked shapes.

Unfortunately  the shock factor did not come from the nudity (after all we are overexposed, oversaturated, overfed with nude nude nude) but from the lack of a visionary curation that could turn the artist’s portfolio into sth refreshingly new. Instead, normal plain linear curation, with simple black Ikea inspired cadrage, backroom rideaux and ordinary exposition made the whole thing look more than an outdated thing stuck in google’s past: it ended up looking cheap. What’s worse, the exhibition started with the gift shop, pushing us even more to the commercial, mundane side of the overexposed Mapplethorpe, too bad he’s not Warhol. 

The only thing worth seeing is Mapplethorpe’s perverse way of perceiving shapes. Beautifully modern shadow playing on ordinary shapes made the simplest of vegetables extraordinary. For all the rest, he was into dirty business and was not afraid to show it. Kudos to honesty.

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