Call it Mapplethorpe mania. The controversial photographer, whose images of the underground BDSM scene were at the centre of the US culture wars in the 1980s, is now on his way to a museum, movie theatre and television screen near you.
The J. Paul Getty Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) are preparing to open a joint exhibition of Mapplethorpe’s work in March (Robert Mapplethorpe: the Perfect Medium, 15 March-31 July). The rest of Hollywood is not far behind. A biopic directed by Ondi Timoner is due to begin production this summer with the support of the Mapplethorpe Foundation.
The writer and musician Patti Smith, Mapplethorpe’s best friend, will be played by Zosia Mamet, a regular on HBO’s programme Girls, according to Deadline. Matt Smith, who played the title character in the BBC’s Doctor Who television series, has been cast as Mapplethorpe. The duo was sel ected “after several years of developing this script and searching across the globe for the perfect talent”, Timoner told Deadline.
Meanwhile, the real Patti Smith is working to adapt her 2010 memoir, Just Kids, into a limited series for Showtime. Smith and John Logan, the creator of the British-American series Penny Dreadful, are co-writing the miniseries, which will document Smith’s relationship with Mapplethorpe as the two came of age in New York in the 1970s.
Last week, yet another Mapplethorpe production debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures, timed to coincide with the Getty and Lacma exhibitions, is due to premiere on HBO this spring.