by Charlie Scheips published at NEWSTATEMAN
David Hockney has taken a break from painting to select a show of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. He talks to Charlie Scheips about his old friend and their shared interest
David Hockney, one of the most popular and influential living artists, takes a keen interest in how his own work has been presented in the hundreds of exhibitions and dozens of books that have documented his 45-year career. And now he has put on a new hat – that of curator – in an exhibition of photographs by the late Robert Mapplethorpe at the Alison Jacques Gallery in London.
Jacques invited Hockney to curate the show after the artists Cindy Sherman and Catherine Opie curated Mapplethorpe exhibitions for galleries in New York and Los Angeles in 2003 and 2004. “I read an interview Hockney did on Andy Warhol’s stitched photographs and thought to myself how brilliant it would be to have David’s eye on Mapplethorpe,” says Jacques. Sherman and Opie never knew Mapplethorpe, but Hockney did. They were introduced by a mutual friend in New York in 1970. Back then, Mapplethorpe was living with the rock artist Patti Smith, and he was making sculpture. Hockney recalls: “I made a drawing of Robert and he gave me a Polaroid of a male nude.” They were never very close, but saw each other from time to time until Mapplethorpe’s death from Aids in 1989. “I lost an entire group of my friends to Aids – it was an incredible loss,” says Hockney. “New York would be a different place today if all the talented artists like Robert hadn’t been taken from us.” read more
March 12 2005
Alison Jacques Gallery – London
in collaboration with Charlie Scheips
Robert Mapplethorpe - curated by David Hockney