Only weeks after it was announced that Patti Smith would be performing the iconic Horses in its entirety at Bluesfest 2017, Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image has revealed that the first feature-length documentary about her close friend and collaborator Robert Mapplethorpe will screen as part of their cinema program later this month.
Co-directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures is the first film of its kind since the provocative photographer’s death in 1989. The filmmakers were granted unrestricted access to Mapplethorpe’s incredible archives to construct a candid examination of his singular oeuvre, which became largely infamous for its unflinching depiction of homosexuality, sadomasochism and the naked body. The film, which takes its name from American senator Jesse Helms famously decrying Mapplethorpe’s work, also features interviews with the artist’s contemporaries and collaborators including Debbie Harry, Fran Lebowitz, Brooke Shields and the artist’s youngest brother, Edward Mapplethorpe, who worked as his assistant.
Look at the Pictures screens alongside performance artist, musician and writer Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog, an extended mediation on the loss of the dog she shared with her late husband Lou Reed, who passed away in 2013. Chevalier, the critically acclaimed new film by of Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari will also film as part of the program, which begins Thursday September 22 and concludes on November 6.
Tile and cover image: Self portrait, 1985, supplied courtesy of ACMI