Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day Without Art

Coinciding with today's World AIDS Day was the 24th Day Without Art to raise AIDS awareness. Robert Mapplethorpe was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986 and died on March 9, 1989 at the age of 42. Less than a year before his death he took this simple but striking self-portrait that is considered one of his best and most influential works. During that last year of his life he also created the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation which has since raised millions of dollars for AIDS research.

"Robert Mapplethorpe shows himself in a 1988 self portrait withered and dying from AIDS. He grasps a cane topped with a small skull. It is one of the photographs in which every part is not fiercely defined by sharp focus. In stark, silvery black and white, the shiny detail of the skull is chillingly juxtaposed with Mapplethorpe’s haunted face – floating out of focus, receding into darkness." John Ingledew, 2005.

self-portrait, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1988
The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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