I went to The Guggenheim and came across Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now, a stunning, comprehensive show of the photographer’s work. In addtion to the powerful hallmarks of his body of work, including his portraits, S&M series, and floral studies, there were pieces that I hadn’t encountered previously. Three such pieces are Black Bag, Red Bag, and Green Bag.
All created in 1971, the three pieces exemplify Mapplethorpe’s interest in the male form and sexuality that would play a monumental role in his artistic production. I thought the use of the grid (a spray painted part of a potato sack) was intresting from a both a formal and conceptual point of view. Also I found his use of banal objects resourceful and inspiring. The artworks possessed a youthful, obsessive quality about them. It was great to discover these pieces that served provide a sketch the artist as a young man.