Robert Mapplethorpe

John McKendry

About this artwork

Born in Canada, John McKendry was a curator of prints and photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It was through McKendry that Mapplethorpe was exposed to photography in a new light and began to consider it as an art form of its own standing. However, McKendry was an alcoholic and this photograph of him was taken in hospital the day before he died, his face slathered in royal jelly moisturiser. Mapplethorpe’s brilliant cropping concentrates our attention on his discriminating eye, for which he was famous, and on the single electrical cord hanging from the socket. Mapplethorpe knew that he didn’t have long to live.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    John McKendry
  • date created:
    1975 (printed 1992)
  • materials:
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • measurements:
    34.10 x 34.10 cm (framed: 61.10 x 58.60 x 3.80 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • accession number:
    AR00209
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe