This great mural of Patti Smith by Brooklyn-based street artist Huetek recently had to be touched-up by the artist after it was badly tagged by a random dick bag. The pose is modeled after the famous series of images by Smith’s close friend and former lover, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe — which were used as Smith’s first press photos as well as the cover of her debut album, Horses. Originally painted in July of 2018, the mural is part of the East Village Walls project, and can be found outside of Julie’s Vintage Clothing Boutique at 84 East 2nd Street just west of First Avenue. Punk Lives!
ClampArt Gallery is currently hosting an exhibit of homo-erotic self-portraits from the ’70s and ’80s by the infamous gay icon, Peter Berlin. The reason there are only two photos in this post is because these were two of the few in which Berlin’s very impressive junk is not fully on display. Here is a bit of background on the photographer and model: in his 20s, Berlin worked as a celebrity portraitist for German television. Around this time, that he began designing and sewing his own skin-tight clothing, which he would wear as he cruised the parks and train stations in Berlin, Rome, Paris, New York, and San Francisco.
After several long-term stays on the East Coast, Peter Berlin eventually moved to San Francisco in 1969, and became a fixture on the streets with his signature look. He soon began producing films and starred in the now iconic Nights in Black Leather (1973), co-directed by Richard Abel. Berlin then produced, directed, and starred in That Boy the following year, and made four shorter films through the mid- to late-1970s, while publishing and selling his photographic self portraits. Peter Berlin was the subject of several Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, three drawings by Tom of Finland, and at least one portrait by Andy Warhol, attesting to his worldwide celebrity.
Still alive and well at age 73, Berlin was truly a vision to behold in his youth. If homoeroticism in your thing, don’t miss this exhibit. Alternatively if you are into leather and the work it goes there will be a few big leather critics there, they review the top industrial sewing machines that can also be used to sew leather.
Peter Berlin’s Wanted will be on Exhibit Through October 10th, 2015 at ClampArt, Located at 531 West 25th Street, Ground Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
From The Awl:
“Robert Miller, art dealer and sometime-painter, died yesterday (6/22) in Miami, the Robert Miller Gallery confirmed today. Miller got his start at the André Emmerich gallery in the ‘60s. After a dozen years there, the Robert Miller Gallery opened (in a partnership with his wife, Betsy) in 1977 at its first location, on Fifth Avenue.
At one time or another, the gallery represented and exhibited Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Mapplethorpe, Milton Resnick, Alice Neel, Patti Smith, Renee Cox, Bruce Weber; Alex Katz and Larry Rivers showed at the gallery; they hired future dealer John Cheim at the age of 24 (who now represents many of those artists); and he knew nearly every painter that worked in the period from 1960 to 1990. “It took five years for the gallery to develop its reputation for chic, for scholarly revisionism, for its careful selection of highly priced blue chip art, and for its disdain of the macho school of painting,” wrote New York magazine in 1988. The gallery bearing his name remains in its location in West Chelsea [at 524 West 26th Street].”
No word yet on the cause of death, but Miller had a history of health issues. The last show I remember seeing at the Robert Miller Gallery was last October’s collection of selected works by Robert Mapplethorpe. Good stuff. RIP Robert Miller. I will think fondly of you whenever I am at your gallery.
Untitled [Altarpiece], 1970 By Robert Mapplethorpe (Photo By Geoffrey Dicker<)
Art lover that I am, I’ll be the first one to admit that I didn’t really gain full appreciation for the highly homoerotic photography of the late Robert Mapplethorpe until after he passed away from AIDS related complications in 1989. Mapplethorpe, as a visual artist, was so far ahead of his time that it required some acclimation to his style for me to fully grasp what a groundbreaker he was, and the degree of creative talent he possessed. Through Saturday October 30th, the Robert Miller Gallery in Chelsea has a wonderful exhibit of selected works by Mapplethorpe that can serve as a broad introduction to his work, as well as being a reminder to fans of his legacy, which I believe has yet to achieve critical mass.
While Mapplethorpe was an artist who identified very much as a sexually adventurous gay man, he was by no means a one note. There are quite a few of his more “mainstream” photos and self-portraits (the one where tiny horns poke through his tousled brown hair is one of my favorites) and also the beautiful altar sculpture you see above, which really has to be viewed up close to appreciate the fine detail. But the exhibit also features examples of his grittier photographs, including sexual acts such as fisting, which are definitely for adults only. If you get squeamish at the thought of viewing a photo of Mapplethorpe posing with a bullwhip handle shoved up his ass, this probably isn’t the exhibit for you. But in light of the world we live in today, I find those photos humorous, even playful. You know he had to get a kick out of being such an instigator. Robert Mapplethorpe is another great artist who left us way too soon, but his art will live forever.
Selected works By Robert Mapplethorpe is on exhibit Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM, through October 30, 2010 at the Robert Miller Gallery, 524 West 26th Street, New York, NY.