© Robert Mapplethorpe, 1984, Ken Moody and Robert Sherman

Robert Mapplethorpe emerged as an artist in New York in the 1970s amid two simultaneous but disparate events: the rise of the market for photography as a fine art, and the explosion of punk and gay cultures. Originally trained in painting and sculpture, Mapplethorpe gravitated toward photography.

Although he occasionally worked with color, Mapplethorpe remained devoted to the minimal elegance of black-and-white photography, using the medium in part as an agent to explore certain paradoxes and binary relationships. (read more)