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AGO to screen premiere of Mapplethorpe documentary

December 20th, 2016

Robert Mapplethorpe. Courtesy HBO Canada

Big news for art and documentary-lovers alike! Alongside film distribution company Films We Like, we’ll be co-presenting the Canadian theatrical premiere of Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey’s documentary about Robert Mapplethorpe, whose controversial photographs of 1970s New York caused national debate. Debuting on January 18, four screenings run in Jackman Hall until January 21.

Tickets are $10 for the public, $8 for students and $9 for AGO Members, and go on sale on Dec. 22 at The screenings are 18+ events.

ABOUT THE FILM (Courtesy HBO Canada)
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, 2016, USA/Germany

“Look at the pictures.” With these words, Republican politician Jesse Helms denounced the work of Robert Mapplethorpe. Twenty-five years later the first and most complete documentary about the artist since his death does just that, with unprecedented unlimited access to his archives and work.

Mapplethorpe might have had hundreds of lovers, but only a few were key relationships, almost all of whom are present in the film. Rounding out this portrait of the artist are the recollections of his older sister Nancy and youngest brother Edward. An artist and photographer in his own right, Edward worked as Robert’s assistant for many years and was responsible for much of the technical excellence of the work.

But the most prominent voice in the documentary is Mapplethorpe’s. Thanks to a number of rediscovered interviews, he is our narrator. Completely candid, shockingly honest, he speaks about his life, loves and work. Seen through his eyes, they were a seamless whole, a complete work of art.

The result is a portrait of the artist who dedicated his life not only to becoming an artist but also to making his chosen medium, photography, respected and valued as a fine art. And he succeeded; His final show, The Perfect Moment, self-planned as he was dying of AIDS, proved to be a time bomb, igniting a culture war that still reverberates today.

Did you know that AGO Members get a discount to films we present at Jackman Hall? Join today.

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