From Mapplethorpe to Gorky

By Mark Feeney
Globe Staff / September 6, 2009

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“Robert Mapplethorpe: Perfection in Form’’: Perhaps no other photographer has drawn so fully on two such seemingly divergent sources of inspiration as Robert Mapplethorpe. Many of his images of gay and fetishistic sexuality remain shocking some three decades after he made them. Yet many of those images, as well as his still lifes and portraits, demonstrate a profound debt to classical ideals of beauty. The raw and the sculptural equally inform his work. Presented by the Galleria dell’Accademia, “Robert Mapplethorpe: Perfection in Form’’ spans the centuries, showing the influence of Michelangelo - more specifically, his famed marbles “David’’ and “Prisoners’’ - on Mapplethorpe. The exhibition offers more than 90 of his photographs, including still lifes and portraits as well as figure studies. Via Ricasoli 58-60, 011-39-055-238-8609, www.polo



“elles@centrepompidou: Women Artists in the Collections of the National Modern Art Museum’’: Since 2007, the 30th anniversary of its founding, the Centre Pompidou has been reexamining its holdings in a series of temporary exhibitions. This imposing show consists of more than 500 works from the museum’s permanent collection. There are some 200 artists represented, all women. They include Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Joan Mitchell, Diane Arbus, Hannah Höch, Suzanne Valadon, and Dora Maar. Place Georges Pompidou, 011-33-1-44-78-12-33,

SEPT. 9-JAN. 10


“Irving Penn: Small Trades’’: Irving Penn is best known for his work in portraiture and fashion photography. Starting in the early 1950s, he also photographed numerous tradespeople wearing work dress and with their work tools. Penn continued this visual exploration over the years. The Getty Museum will be presenting the most extensive exhibition of these photographs ever shown, more than 250 images. 1200 Getty Center Drive, 310-440-7300,

OCT. 1-JAN. 17


“Pop Life: Art in a Material World’’: Equally at home in marketplace and studio, Andy Warhol once opined that “Good business is the best art.’’ This exhibition at Tate Modern looks at how certain artists have succeeded in making themselves into brand names over the past three decades. Among artists included in the show are Warhol, of course, as well as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Keith Haring, and Takashi Murakami, with a work commissioned for this exhibition. Bankside, 011-44-20 7887-8888,

OCT. 6-FEB. 21


“Leonardo da Vinci: Hand of the Genius’’: The High Renaissance takes up residence on Peachtree Street. Celebrating the spectacular talents of Da Vinci, this exhibition offers more than 20 examples of his sketches and studies. In addition, there are works by Donatello, Verrochio, and three of Rustici’s bronzes from the Baptistery, in Florence. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, 404-733-4444,

OCT. 16


Neues Museum reopening: The Neues, or New, Museum is one of five on Berlin’s Museum Island. Destroyed by Allied bombs in World II and never repaired, it has undergone an innovative 11-year, $255-millon complete restoration. Overseen by the British architect David Chipperfield, it combines both surviving elements of the original building and new replacement sections. The museum, which houses Egyptian and prehistory collections, has for its most famous object the 14th-century BC bust of Queen Nefertiti. Bodestrasse 1-3, 011-49-30-2090-5577,


OCT. 21-JAN. 10


“Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective’’: The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be the first of three venues for this very large overview of the career of a painter who played a key role in the emergence of abstraction in American art. The exhibition comprises more than 175 works, including paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings. Subsequent venues will be Tate Modern, in London, and Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art. 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-763-8100 ,

Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; check online. Mark Feeney can be reached at