Yale University Press publishes 'Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls'

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Yale University Press publishes 'Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls'
This exciting and original book is the first to consider the work of Warhol and Mapplethorpe together, with a focus on their provocative portraits and self-portraits.

NEW HAVEN, CONN.- Andy Warhol (1928–1987) and Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) are well known for significant work in portraiture and self-portraiture that challenged gender roles and notions of femininity, masculinity, and androgyny. This exciting and original book is the first to consider the two artists together, examining the powerful portraits they created during the vibrant and tumultuous era bookended by the Stonewall riots and the AIDS crisis. Several important bodies of work are featured, including Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen series of drag queen portraits and his collaboration with Christopher Makos on Altered Image, in which Warhol was photographed in makeup and wigs, and Mapplethorpe’s photographs of Patti Smith and of female body builder Lisa Lyon. These are explored alongside numerous other paintings, photographs, and films that demonstrate the artists’ engagement with gender, identity, beauty, performance, and sexuality, including their own self-portraits and portraits of one another.

Essays trace the convergences and divergences of Warhol and Mapplethorpe’s work, and examine the historical context of the artists’ projects as well as their lasting impact on contemporary art and queer culture. Firsthand accounts by the artists’ collaborators and subjects reveal details into the making and exhibition of some of the works presented here. With an illustrated timeline highlighting key moments in the artists’ careers, and more than 90 color plates of their arresting pictures, this book provides a fascinating study of two of the most compelling figures in 20th-century art.

The book accompanies an exhibition that will open at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art on October 17. Guise & Dolls will focus on several prominent bodies of work from each artist’s oeuvre: Warhol’s “Ladies and Gentlemen” series (1975) of drag queen portraits, Christopher Makos’s “Altered Images” series of Warhol in drag, Mapplethorpe’s photographs of lifelong friend and longtime muse Patti Smith that range from masculine to feminine and Mapplethorpe’s photographic series and book Lady: Lisa Lyon (1983) of the female bodybuilding champion in numerous gender-bending guises. Androgynous and cross-dressing subjects, including Bob Colacello, Candy Darling and Grace Jones will supplement the series. The exhibition will showcase approximately 100 works of art including paintings, photographs, Polaroids, prints and video.

Warhol and Mapplethorpe are embedded in the Wadsworth’s history. They have both been subjects of the museum’s MATRIX solo exhibition series: Andy Warhol / MATRIX 50 (1979) featured the Still Life (Hammer and Sickle) paintings of 1976 and Robert Mapplethorpe / MATRIX 80 (1984)—curated by former Wadsworth curator and Mapplethorpe’s lover Sam Wagstaff—presented 20 gelatin silver prints and photogravures of “Flowers” (1983). The Wadsworth also participated in the much publicized and controversial touring exhibition, Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment (1989). In 1999, the museum organized the exhibition, About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits, which traveled to the Miami Art Museum in 2000.

Patricia Hickson is the Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

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