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Bibliophile price: £12.00
The young photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) idolised Andy Warhol (1928-1987), 18 years his senior. Both were obsessed with fluid gender roles and both revealed themselves in trans-gender self-portraits. Finally in 1983 they created portraits of each other. Mapplethorpe's photos of Warhol show a face devoid of make-up, strained and anxious, an uncanny insight into the soul of a showman. Warhol's painting of Mapplethorpe is based on a polaroid snap, covered in red so that the subject's penetrating gaze is transformed into a startled, almost frightened glare. Mapplethorpe's genius was to penetrate his sitters' deeper selves, whether with the intimately androgynous portrait of Patti Smith for her 1975 album Horses, or the chain-bound and leather-clad figures of his S&M studies. Mapplethorpe's two companion self-portraits of 1980, made for the cover of his book Certain People, are individually beautiful, while together they say something profound about Mapplethorpe's own double nature and perhaps that of humanity itself. On one side of the page a macho Mapplethorpe swaggers in a leather jacket, cigarette hanging from his mouth; on the other side, his elaborately coiffed hair frames painted eyelids and a cupid's bow lipsticked mouth. Warhol's transgender studies, on the other hand, are deliberately unconvincing, as in his Drag Queen series where wigs are ill-fitting and make-up smeared. His Ladies and Gentlemen series, 26 of which are reproduced here, are celebrated for their depiction of cultural unease. This book brings the two geniuses together for the first time, allowing each one's work to form a commentary on the other's and on the smashing of boundaries characteristic of their dazzling era. 172pp, 90 colour reproductions, 24.6 x 28cm, contributions by models and collaborators, timeline. Adult content.
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