The Arthur Roger Gallery is honored to be hosting the first joint exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe and George Dureau. Mapplethorpe and Dureau were introduced in New Orleans in the 1970s by prominent local collector, Dr. Russell Albright. The two artists became friends, endeared by their mutual interests, and their friendship informed their artistic ideals and emboldened their individual contributions. The influence that each artist had on the other is beautifully apparent in this exhibition of almost forty 20×16 inch, black and white photographs. The images feature male nudes, mostly African American, and were taken between the late 70s and early 90s.
Robert Mapplethorpe was born in New York in 1946 and died in Boston in 1989 due to complications from HIV/AIDS. He studied Graphic Arts at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and left in 1969 before finishing his degree. He took his first photographs in the early 1970s using a Polaroid camera. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer. Mapplethorpe had over 200 solo exhibitions in his lifetime. In 1988, the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective and in 2016, the J. Paul Getty Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, which jointly hold one of the largest collections of his work, hosted companion retrospectives. In the year before his death, Mapplethorpe established the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in order to protect and extend his artistic legacy, to promote and support photography at the institutional level, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV.
George Valentine Dureau, a native New Orleanian, was born in 1930 and died in 2014. He received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Louisiana State University in 1952 and briefly attended Tulane University where he studied architecture. In October 2011, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans presented Dureau its highest honor, the Opus Award, in recognition of his contributions to the art and culture of New Orleans and the larger South. In 2012, he received critical acclaim in the New York Times following the first New York exhibition of his photography. His art is included in numerous museum collections, including Le Musée de la Photographie in Paris, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia. He has two monographs, New Orleans: 50 Photographs, published in 1985 and George Dureau: The Photographs, published in 2016.