How has Robert Mapplethorpe's legacy evolved in the thirty years since his death from AIDS in 1989? How did the NEA funding controversy and charges of indecency surrounding his posthumous exhibition The Perfect Moment shape the way his work has been remembered? How have contemporary artists been influenced by, and commented on, his large and varied body of work? In conjunction with UMS's world premiere of Triptych (the eyes of one on another), a new music theatre work about Mapplethorpe's life and work, noted art historian Richard Meyer will unpack Mapplethorpe's complicated afterlife in the public imagination.
Richard Meyer, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University, teaches courses in twentieth-century American art, the history of photography, arts censorship and the first amendment, curatorial practice, and gender and sexuality studies. His first book, Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art, was awarded the Charles C. Eldredge Prize for Outstanding Scholarship from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In 2013, he published What Was Contemporary Art?, a study of the idea of "the contemporary" in early twentieth-century American art, and, with Catherine Lord, Art and Queer Culture, a survey focusing on the dialogue between visual art and non-normative sexualities from 1885 to the present.