Robert Mapplethorpe’s Man in Polyester Suit

EROS RULES THE world, and Robert Mapplethorpe celebrates eros. But rather than locating eros in a single, unambiguous sex, whether male or female, his photographs honor it for the multiplicity of its expressions, for its variety, for the confusions of identity it creates. For Mapplethorpe there is no passion that eros excludes, no boundaries it knows. His is a satisfied, inclusive eros, always reaching out for new life. It is inexhaustible. And it is totally without guilt over the desire to love and to be loved, without limit.

Mapplethorpe’s work has emotional tenderness as well as sex. Desire wanders freely here, without repression or inhibition. The photographs communicate the greatest possible investment in people and things. A vertiginous journey through the senses (of vision, of sexual sensation), they have an erotic exuberance that ignores the distinctions made elsewhere between love

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