1. Robert Mapplethorpe’s iconic, controversial photos were carefully curated and will be featured at a large-scale via theatrical projection.
During his time of rising popularity, Mapplethorpe photographed the New York’s 1980’s BDSM scene in which he was involved. Mapplethorpe’s work, specifically his black and white photography, has the power to provoke conversations about black/white, female/male, queer/straight, art/porn, sacred/profane, and political/personal elements of the human experience.
2. Much of Patti Smith’s poetry in the performance was inspired by her personal and intimate relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe.
Mapplethorpe was a go-to photographer for celebrity portraits. He shot portraits of Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, and Iggy Pop, among many others. Mapplethorpe photographed two iconic album covers of that era: Patti Smith’s Horses and Television’s Marquee Moon. He also served as a staff photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine during this time.
3. The sound of the performance, like Mapplethorpe’s photography, mirrors the diverse emotions provoked by the images on screen.
In a recent interview, Bryce Dessner (The National) recalls being a young boy in Cincinnati at the height of Mapplethorpe’s controversial exhibit in his local art gallery. The experience had a significant impact on Dessner’s career and was inspired by Mapplethorpe’s classical style of art.
4. You’ll hear an unorthodox collection of voices that reflect the many different perspectives of the audience through choral music.
Among the talented artists is Roomful of Teeth, a Grammy Award-winning vocal group dedicated to re-imagining the expressive potential of the human voice. They perform everything from ballad belting to throat singing. The music was designed to allow for different audience members to appreciate other perspectives.
5. The performance is a culmination of a new generation of artists sharing their perspectives of Mapplethorpe’s photography.
The libretto – the text for this evening length vocal work—was created by korde arrington tuttle for the performance. It is deeply inspired by Tuttle’s perspective of Mapplethorpe’s photography as a young, gay, black man as well as the perspectives of his fellow artist collaborators.