Scissor Sisters Curate New Mapplethorpe Show

Posted by David Ozanich — 3 Feb 2011


Dance pop band Scissor Sisters used as cover art for their album Night Work a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph of ballet dancer Peter Reed's derriere. Lead singer Jake Shears tells CNN:

"The moment I saw the photograph which we ended up using for our album cover," said Shears, "I knew right away that it was the sleeve."

"Initially I loved the sexiness and the playfulness of it," he continued, adding that the image of dancer Peter Reed's behind was an inspiration for the dance tracks on the album.

selfportrait1980.jpgSelf portrait 1980

Subsequently, the band was asked by representatives of the Mapplethorpe estate to curate a show of his photographs at the Alison Jacques gallery in London. They quickly agreed and put together a show featuring Mapplethorpe's iconic black-and-white nudes as well as his flowers. Band member Babydaddy explains:

"We've both been really interested in contemporary art and I think it's always great to pull inspiration from anywhere you can."

He continued: "I don't know if we really considered curating a show until the gallery approached us, actually, after putting out the record and just said, 'We love what you've done with the work, we think Robert would have been a fan of his use on the album cover.'"

flowerwithknife85.jpgFlower with Knife 1985

The article also offers a quick primer on Mapplethorpe's role in the art world:

He produced some of the most enduring art of the 1970s and 1980s, with almost classically sculptural black-and-white photos of nudes and still lifes; stark portraits of celebrities including Debbie Harry and Isabella Rossellini; and sculptural work.

Though his work is now well represented at galleries and museums all over the world, it has caused controversy in the past.

In 1989, a traveling exhibition of Mapplethorpe's work in the U.S., which featured nude children and sadomasochistic imagery, caused a political storm culminating in threats to funding for the National Endowment of the Arts.

The artist set up The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation shortly before his death, which looks after his work but also supports medical research into the area of AIDS and HIV infection.

2mendancing1984.jpgTwo Men Dancing 1984

The exhibit is on view at Alison Jacques gallery until March 19th. Watch an interview with Jake Shears and Babydaddy which takes you inside the new show:

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