#longreads: Robert Mapplethorpe by Gary Indiana

by Corinna Kirsch on November 16, 2012 Long Reads

Robert Mapplethorpe, "Self Portrait," 1982.

If you’re into art world fan fiction—or would like to be—imagine Gary Indiana dishing gossip with Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1980s. The two of them, in some raw parlor room somewhere, would have mixed art world name-dropping with some serious shop talk about photography.

Well, that interview between the irreverent duo did happen, and BOMB Magazine just pulled it out of their archives. It’s fantastic.

On the serious side, the two talk about how Mapplethorpe’s S&M photographs nearly ostracized him from some of the gay press and why, up until that point, he never had a museum show. On the gossipy side, the essay features strange stories with unnamed characters. There’s the [name deleted] guy who yelled at Gary Indiana during a Gilbert & George opening, calling out, “You’re nothing but a queen!” Then there’s the [name deleted] “butch guy” who would get nervous looking at Mapplethorpe’s more risque work. With all this real talk, you know this interview didn’t happen over email.

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