Sunday, 14 November 2010

Mapplethorpe: How's It Hanging In Eastbourne?

"In Eastbourne, 16 miles from my home, the Towner gallery was showing an exhibition of the work of the late American photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. I'm sure the words Eastbourne and Robert Mapplethorpe never co-existed in a sentence before this autumn, but it is to the Towner's credit that it has managed to curate a show that does justice to the photographer's work while acknowledging the fact that Eastbourne is, literally and metaphorically, a very long way from either Greenwich Village or Soho.
"Anyway, there I was on one of my child-free weekends, soaking up the culture, clocking the penises and the Patti Smith portraits, when I spotted a couple of cool-looking mid-30s mums and dads plus their offspring, ranging from babies to not-quite-double-figures, all "enjoying" the Mapplethorpe oeuvre en famille. At which point I felt almost comically middle-aged and reactionary..."

The Guardian's Kathryn Flett ponders a liberal modern parent's dilemma: Is it ever acceptable to expose young children to explicit images in galleries?

In a short accompanying piece The Guardian's art critic, Jonathan Jones, reminds us; "Any cultural encounter can lead to the "inappropriate". When I was 12, we were in Italy on holiday. In Siena cathedral, a priest beckoned my younger sister and showed her the pickled head of St Catherine..."

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