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Photography May, 5 2011

50 Americans | Mr. Cartoon on His Favorite Mapplethorpe

Sean Kelly Gallery will present 50 Americans, an exhibition that features fifty works by legendary American artist Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) as selected by fifty Americans of diverse occupations, ages, races, and backgrounds. Fifty people, one from each state in the Union, were invited to select a single artwork from over 2,000 images in Mapplethorpe’s oeuvre that resonated with them personally. While some participants may have already been familiar with Mapplethorpe’s work, some were not. Each image included in the exhibition will be accompanied by a text that explains why the participant who selected it found it to be meaningful.

Mr. Cartoon is one of those 50 Americans. He selected Mapplethorpe’s portrait of Debby Harry from 1978. Of the portrait, Cartoon says, “I chose the photo of Blondie because she is a graffiti icon and I remember being a teenager watching a music video of her – I think it was Rapture – and that stuck in my mind. In the video there was a Lee graffiti piece and a Fab 5 Freddy piece and, being from LA, this was my introduction to New York Graffiti. In this photo I like her style, and her eye contact with the camera – it captures who she is.”

The exhibition opens on May 6 and runs to June 18, 2011.

Sean Kelly Gallery
528 West 29th Street
New York NY 10001

Above is “American Flag,” 1977.

View Mapplethorpe’s portrait of Harry after the jump.

Robert Mapplethorpe Deborah Harry, 1978 Copyright Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by Permission.

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