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Jesse Helms

HBO's 'Look at the Pictures' is as explicit as its subject, Robert Mapplethorpe

HBO's 'Look at the Pictures' is as explicit as its subject, Robert Mapplethorpe

In his life and especially in the stories told of his life, Robert Mapplethorpe has represented a multitude of identities and meanings.

He created elegant photographs of flowers and celebrities and documented a sexual underground in pictures that helped ignite a battle over free expression that continued well after his death in 1989. He was an ambitious Catholic kid from Queens who, like his early lover and comrade Patti Smith, rose to fame as a creative force from the Boho squalor of New York City. And his reputation lives on as a still-controversial icon of the LGBT community.

"When you put them all together, the totality gives you...

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