Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection
In this seminar, philosopher Jeanne Proust engages participants in an expansive conversation about Robert Mapplethorpe’s work, through the lens of aesthetics and the famed photographer’s quest for perfect beauty. In thinking about Mapplethorpe’s carefully composed photographs of provocative subjects, can we engage with beauty solely through the aesthetic qualities of the representation itself? Or is our appreciation of beauty inherently linked to the moral connotations of the subject matter? Proust also brings Mapplethorpe’s work into dialogue with French poet Baudelaire, who helped redefine our notion of beauty and what can be considered beautiful. Is beauty within the subject matter or within the spectator?