Robert Mapplethorpe: As Above, So Below

The Late Photographer’s New Exhibition Puts the Onus on the Viewer

Robert Mapplethorpe was a controversial chronicler of American subculture, sparking debates about eroticism and racial exploitation in the arts that are still relevant today. As Above, So Below, the late New York artist’s forthcoming exhibition at LA’s OHWOW gallery that is previewed here, is no exception. “He treated each subject equally, unbiased and without judgment,” says Al Moran, the co-founder of the institution that was previously based in Miami. “Mapplethorpe directs you by every construct at his disposal to look, and look again.” His classical portraiture, often depicting the male form, and desire for pictorial balance is the focus of the exhibition. The show’s title refers to a Hermetic principle, suggesting that whatever happens on one level of reality also occurs on another––a concept reflected by a shared aesthetic that exists between Mapplethorpe’s photographs that some consider obscene and others, beautiful.

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  • ON REPLAY
    ON REPLAY

    Highrise

    Benjamin Millepied’s LA Dance Project Turns Ace Hotel Downtown LA Into a Multi-Storey Stage

    Dancers Rachelle Rafailedes and Nathan Makolandra twist and turn in a stirring duet captured at the recently launched Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Directed by Ricky Norris, the short previews Benjamin Millepied’s forthcoming performance, Reflections. Ahead of the star choreographer and filmmaker's milestone residency at the hotel’s revived theatre, NOWNESS presents Millepied’s love letter to Los Angeles.

    To love LA, you have to get to know LA. I was always attracted to the diversity of the architecture, the way you go through areas that are stuck in time. It can feel like the 60s, 70 or 80s, with this stunning light. There's also possibly the greatest record store in America in Los Angeles.

    I’ve been living for four or five years in Los Feliz, but the LA Dance Company’s home is in Downtown. When I first moved to here, I spent time visiting the old theaters that fascinated me. You have places like the Los Angeles Theater where Charlie Chaplin opened City Lights—there are pictures of Albert Einstein walking out after the show. It touches the heart, a Louis XIV theater that needs to be renovated as soon as possible. LA Dance Project’s new home is the old United Artists Theater at Ace Hotel; because of its proportions and sight lines, it’s really the best old theater for dance in Los Angeles.

    The new shows scream LA. All of these dancers are a growing part of the city, with Reflections having visuals by Barbara Kruger and music by David Lang, who was born in Los Angeles and still has family there. LA artist Sterling Ruby designed the set for Justin Peck’s Murder Ballads, with Bryce Dessner from The National creating a fantastic score for us. The third show is by the Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda who created the set and the music, exploring the relationship with technology and movement on stage, something I wanted to explore with the dancers. I couldn’t be happier, because part of my commitment is an understanding of the past in order to move forward, caring for the existing American repertory alongside new commissions.

    The LA Dance Project launches at The Theater at Ace Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles (formerly United Artists Theatre) with performances on February 20, 21 and 22.

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  • MOST SHARED IN CULTURE
    MOST SHARED IN CULTURE

    Matteo Garrone: The Player

    The Cannes Grand Prix-Winner Talks Love, Chance and Celluloid with Fellow Director Chiara Clemente

    Touted as the pioneer of a renaissance in Italian cinema, director Matteo Garrone takes us through the shadowy streets of his native Rome and into an intimate card game in this new film by Chiara Clemente. Since his rise to prominence after winning the Sacher d’Oro award for the short Silhouette in 1996, Garrone has become known and feted internationally for the 2008 film Gomorrah, the nuanced chronicle of the Casalesi clan—a faction of Naples’ notorious Camorra—that earned him multiple Best Director awards while unveiling tensions and intimacies between the Italian government and the country’s organized crime syndicates. His latest work, Reality, takes on the world of the ubiquitous television genre. In anticipation of its release, Garrone opened up his life in the Italian capital to filmmaker Clemente, whose own acclaimed work includes the Sundance Channel’s Beginnings as well as the series Made Here: Performing Artists on Work and Life in New York City. Clemente was a fan of Garrone's when she began working on today's short, having been entranced and inspired after seeing The Embalmer as a recent film school grad, yet she quickly found they had more in common than their chosen profession. “I discovered shortly after we started talking that his mother took amazing photographs of my mother when she was very young and a theater actress,” muses the director. “Here I was doing a portrait of him, and his mother had done a similar thing with my mother more than 30 years before.” Interlacing the multicultural surrounds of Garrone’s city with his love of sensuality and the at times unpredictable game of poker, Clemente's intimate portrait reveals that “the most exciting moments in a documentary happen by chance.”

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