Sunday, April 7, 2019

Mapplethorpe at Museo Madre, Naples

Everybody knows about Italy's legendary collections of classical, Renaissance and Baroque art. Today let's look at a cutting-edge collection of contemporary art in Naples.
Bill and I came to Museo Madre for their Robert Mapplethorpe show.
We had no idea that we were about to discover three floors packed with great contemporary art.
Patti Smith called her friend, Mapplethorpe, "the boy who loved Michelangelo." The curators at the Madre have expanded this idea and have installed Mapplethorpe's photos with Renaissance drawings and paintings and classical and Romantic sculpture.
I had lost interest in the much-hyped Mapplethorpe, so was pleased to see how strong the work looks now. The compositions are so compressed the images want to burst beyond the frames.
It was fun to see Mapplethorpe's famous S & M photographs juxtaposed with this violent Baroque painting.
Other juxtapositions were just as witty -- Mapplethorpe as a faun beside a 1900 faun by Wilhelm von Gloeden.
We were also impressed by the technical quality of the printing -- the gorgeous and velvety range of tones. The photos look as fresh as the day they were printed.
Halfway through the show we found a door to the museum's rooftop terrace. It offered views over Naples including this one with Vesuvius in the distance.
The Neopolitan rooftops were delightful.
There were some nice 'on site' art installations as well, such as Bianco-Valente's The Sea Does Not Bathe Naples, 2015.
Over the museum courtyard we found Mimmo Paladino's Horse, 2016
and in the courtyard, below, Jan Fabre's The Man Who Measures The Clouds, 2018.
On the lower floors of the museum we enjoyed more site-specific works by major contemporary artists. Great fun. Here is Francesco Clemente's Ab Ovo, 2003.
William Kentridge's Porter Series: Expedition of Young Cyrus et retraite des dix milles (with wrought iron), 2006-2007.
Gilbert & George's Up The Wall, 2008 certainly resonated in these days of Brexit and Trump's "wall"!
We're not always fans of the work of Jeff Koons but liked this print on canvas, Untitled, 2005.
Mimmo Paladino's mixed media installation Untitled, 2005 was a delight.
Here's a closer look at Paladino's inventive drawings.
Descending to the ground floor, with it's colourful faux-Pompeian wall decoration, we knew we would always return the Madre Museum when in Napoli. If you like contemporary art don't miss it!

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Link to Madre's website: http://www.madrenapoli.it/en/visit/

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