Two shows in one gallery space is really indulgent with: Saints and Sinners: ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE and The Point Beyond the Tree: SLATER BRADLEY.
I was truly excited to have an opportunity to see both Mapplethorpe and Bradley together in the same space that if fueled rapt anticipation as I looked forward to attending these two shows at Sean Kelly Gallery.
Walking through the Mapplethorpe show, the photograph pairings – the saints and sinners of this artist’s world – provided a glimpse into Mapplethorpe’s creative process. The room and the photographs divided or combined in accented black and white brought the realization that we need these ever opposing but correlated dichotomies to understand and move through this world.
The downstairs space, displayed Bradley’s “She was my La Jette”, a low-fi film paired with scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. I was mesmerized by the woman’s stare into Bradley’s camera, while Kim Novak’s eyes glanced towards the viewer, which slowed down to accentuate her eyes. The exhibition for Bradley continued upstairs with photographs of Alina, the model in his film. The fantasy, perhaps unattainable woman in the photographs spoke of love lost or never attained, epitomized a point beyond the tree that we only dream about.
As I checked out the crowd, which consisted of an eclectic mix of beautiful models, eccentric characters, the upper echelon of New York society and simply me – the focus of my camera found a cool, suavely dressed gentleman. He gave me a knowing pose. This gentleman, David Croland, Robert Mapplethorpe’s first boyfriend and curator of “Robert Mapplethorpe- Fashion Show” at the Alison Jacques Gallery in London this past September, invited me in to a world I could only dream about. Explaining circumstances surrounding particular photographs and describing Mapplethorpe’s jewelry in detail, Mr. Croland also introduced me to Robert’s brother, Edward Mapplethorpe, an artist in his own right. The combination of Mapplethorpe’s pure creative genius and the introduction of the people who surrounded him with love, fostered a perpetual smile that will last for some time. Something that will stay far a point beyond the tree where Sinners and Saints are equal in the white cube interior of the art world.
Saints and Sinners: Robert Mapplethorpe – The Point Beyond the Tree: Slater Bradley / On View: December 13, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (11am to 7pm)
Sean Kelly Gallery. 475 Tenth Avenue. NYC, NY 10018
Article and photography by: Olya Turcihin