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Lead book review

Robert Mapplethorpe: bad boy with a camera

The enfant terrible of Seventies New York even turned market-bought flowers into highly-charged photographic images

2 April 2016

9:00 AM

2 April 2016

9:00 AM

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs Paul Martineau and Britt Salvesen

Getty Publications, pp.330, £40, ISBN: 9781606064696

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive Frances Terpak and Michelle Brunnick

Getty Research Institute, pp.240, £40, ISBN: 9781606064702

Mapplethorpe Flora: The Complete Flowers Mark Holborn and Dimitri Levas

Phaidon, pp.368, £125, ISBN: 9780714871318

Robert Mapplethorpe made his reputation as a photographer in the period between the 1969 gay-bashing raid at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street and the identification of HIV in 1983. This was the High Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, the Bourbon Louis Romp, the Victorian imperial pomp, the Jazz Age, the Camelot moonshot, the Swinging Sixties of gay culture in New York.

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An exhibition of photographs — Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium — is at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles,until 31 July. 'Robert Mapplethorpe - The Photographs', £34.00, 'Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive', £34.00 and 'Mapplethorpe Flora: The Complete Flowers', £100.00 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033. Stephen Bayley’s Death Drive: There Are No Accidents was published last month

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