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3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  286 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The brilliant photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) was one of the most infamous figures of the contemporary art world. Patricia Morrisroe, drawing on the numerous interviews she conducted with him and those who know him, has written a remarkable biography that reveals a life even more daring than his art.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 22nd 1997 by Da Capo Press (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 519)
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Niklas Pivic
Apr 12, 2011 Niklas Pivic rated it really liked it
Robert Mapplethorpe was an anomaly. A sometimes mediocre photographer with a keen eye for disrupting scenes through being a punk, sometimes shaking things up in ways that nobody else had done before him.

He seems also to have been a parasite, a racist, a nice guy, brutal and a relentless self-serving publicity-machine.

So, what draws people to Mapplethorpe? Is it because of his images of people, especially the sexually toned ones? His near-marriage with Patti Smith while living with her for seven
David M
Apr 20, 2016 David M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the ultimate case of a biographer who just seems really bored with her subject. I can't really blame Morrisroe. Stare at the abyss and the abyss stares back. The deeper you go with Mapplethorpe the more emptiness you find. Patti Smith tried to read him Genet but he was more interested in shopping for jeans. In this care I fear the philistines may actually be right. You'd be better off just looking at porn on the internet.
May 13, 2016 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although this book seems completely thorough in detailing all the events of Robert Mapplethorpe's life and work, I found it filled with spite and general ill wishes that were thinly disguised. It seems the subject gave the author complete permission to write this book, and even possibly told his friends and business acquaintances to "tell the truth", reading this book left a bad taste in my mouth. I read it voraciously, as I've become entranced and enamored with this man's life and work as of la ...more
Rudy Katoch
Jun 24, 2014 Rudy Katoch rated it really liked it
I own the first-edition hardback, which is important as this is where Patricia Morrisroe's work appears in its most beautiful form. It is gold. There are two self-portraits of Robert Mapplethorpe from the 1980s placed in the centre: one gracing the front and the other on the back. The 1986 self-portrait upon the cover hints at the terribilità in his expression and work. It is a quality attributed to Michelangelo by his contemporaries and applied to Mapplethorpe by his own. But, it is the the blu ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Shannan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was compelled to read Mapplethorpe after reading Patti Smith's "Just Kids," (another amazing book), and have to say that Mapplethorpe was fascinating, heartbreaking, poignant, thought-provoking, and probably the best book I read all last year. He was such an intriguing figure, pushing every boundary of societal norms and moral conventions.
May 24, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
This book was an extremely thorough biography of Mapplethorpe. I was inspired to read it after reading "Just Kids" by Patti Smith; it provides more insight into Mapplethorpe himself and some alternate information on Smith. It is not for the faint of heart or conservative reader.
Sandra Bobandra
Feb 21, 2014 Sandra Bobandra rated it really liked it
I liked reading this book. I am an artist and photographer and enjoyed reading about New York's struggling artists of the time. I also was a child when all of this was going on so it was interesting to get a different perspective of the era. There was a lot more detail in this book than in Patty Smith's book, Just Kids.
One thing this book prompted me top do was to do some recent research in AIDS. I remember when it started in San Francisco and all of the things they discovered about it through t
Michael Flick
Nov 12, 2012 Michael Flick rated it it was ok
For me, this was a hard book to like. The author had access to Mapplethorpe and most of the people who had contact with him. The book is detailed without succumbing to the problems that plague most biographies of the living or recently deceased: repetition and drivel. It's well written and edited. All that is what is good about it.

What's not so good: First, there are numerous photographs, appropriate for a biography of a photographer, but they are poorly reproduced, murky and unfocused. It's eas
Rafa Lombardino
May 03, 2011 Rafa Lombardino rated it liked it
I definitely took longer to finish this one... It did have about 100 pages more than each of the other five books I've read this year, but the subject wasn't easy either. It's not that I was appalled by the descriptions of his photographs and lifestyle; it's just hard to read about someone self-destructing. Still, it's like a car crash and you can't avoid looking to see what happened. A couple of months ago his name wouldn't ring a bell. A couple of weeks ago I actually got a joke that Bill Mahe ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Tim rated it it was amazing
Interesting read. Was only familiar with the subject from some of his artwork.
Jan 20, 2008 Kizer rated it it was ok
If you had hoped to learn something about Robert Mapplethorpe's photography this is the wrong place to look. If you want salacious sex stories, well it takes all kinds. The beginning of the book does give interesting insights into the relationship between Robert and Patti Smith but the overall story rings hollow. I'd recommend waiting for Patti Smiths book " Just Kids".
Mar 27, 2016 Claudia rated it it was ok
mazal bohbot berrie
Jun 28, 2010 mazal bohbot berrie marked it as to-read
Shelves: own
Mapplethorpe, only in your constellation could you have such a boring biographer. You had a brilliant life and deserve better. I love your adolescent guts, but I have to put you away so I can read my second wave, gender studies books. But I will be back soon. Luv, Leslie
Stéphanie Amesse
Well-researched and well-written, but the author gets lost when she tries to explain Mapplethorpe's work in the context of his sexuality. A good read nonetheless, but definitely no ground-breaking insights.
Bonnie Dean
Jan 13, 2011 Bonnie Dean rated it really liked it
Very well written. You don't have to be an art afficianado to appreciate Mapplethorpe's contribution to photography and visual arts (regardless of how much of a prick he could be).
Linda Edquist
May 13, 2012 Linda Edquist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seem to be in a biography frame of mind and this ones is reading like it will be a very interesting look at the 1970's NYC art culture and the birth of the gay pride movement.
Nov 05, 2011 Kristin rated it really liked it
A really stunning biography of Robert Mapplethorpe that I read to clarify after reading Patti Smith's "Just Kids". IMO, a lot better than Smith's book.
Mar 26, 2007 rebecca rated it really liked it
you'll find most of my books are real reason except that if I am going to escape for a while I'll read about someone else's life....
Jul 27, 2012 Nick rated it it was ok
Bio of controversial photographer that's completely biased by the author's distaste of her subject's lifestyle.
Feb 15, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It offers insights in Mapplethrope and his creative mind.
Anthony Arthur
May 17, 2010 Anthony Arthur rated it really liked it
Good biography of a complicated yet visionary artist.
Robert Vaughan
Jan 18, 2016 Robert Vaughan rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love him and his work.
Marilyn Moreau
Oct 14, 2013 Marilyn Moreau rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Well researched, vivid.
Carolyn Mcguire
Carolyn Mcguire rated it it was ok
Aug 25, 2016
Melinda Wheeless
Melinda Wheeless marked it as to-read
Aug 24, 2016
Jonathan Wilkinson
Jonathan Wilkinson marked it as to-read
Aug 17, 2016
Millie Jefferies
Millie Jefferies rated it really liked it
Aug 18, 2016
Austin is currently reading it
Aug 22, 2016
Carolyn Beegan
Carolyn Beegan marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2016
Rita Yost
Rita Yost rated it it was amazing
Aug 10, 2016
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