Patti Smith at Rizzoli
Image above: ©Belle McIntyre, From Left to Right: Michelle Brunnick (Robert Mapplethorpe archive curatorial assistant at the Getty Research Institute), Patti Smith, Frances Terpak (curator of photographs at the Getty Research Institute)
The publication of the Robert Mapplethorpe Archive which was donated to the Getty Research Institute by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation provides fascinating insights into the evolution and the process of the creator of the iconic works of photography which are so familiar to the world. Photography was really only the apotheosis of his development as an artist but a small percentage of his time as a working artist. This book fills in the trajectory with intimate details from his colleagues in general and Patti Smith, in particular.
Image above: ©Belle McIntyre
Patti Smith, his earliest muse and most intimate friend and keeper of the flame. As young artists they were lovers who worked together and collaborated and influenced each other hugely. As time passed and their relationship evolved they never lost their intense artistisc connection and deep devotion to each other. So when she talks of his work ethic and process in such a matter of fact manner which can only come from a place of real connection it feels so personal that one almost feels like an intruder. All the little details are totally charming and feel completely spontaneous. She is amazing at turning herself inside out and sharing with unbounded generosity. She really humanizes the man. It is a beautiful thing. And it doesn’t hurt that she is a poet. And it does make you want to know more about the man and the process. All of it is totally brilliant in the context of the whole. There is much food for thought.
By Belle McIntrye