Inverness is one of only four venues in Scotland to house a major new modern art collection, which is being launched at the Tate Modern, London on Thursday (22 January).
The Highland Council will be hosting Artist Rooms, a special exhibition of the work of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, from 25 April – 27 June this year at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Castle Wynd, Inverness IV2 3EB, opening Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm.
Artist Rooms has been created through one of the largest and most imaginative gifts of art ever made to museums in Britain. The gift has been made by Anthony d’Offay, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), The Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. Artist Rooms is jointly owned and managed by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the nation.
The collection of 725 works, representing one of the most important holdings of post-war and contemporary international art in private hands, was assembled by Anthony d’Offay, whose London galleries played a key role in the promotion and understanding of twentieth-century art in the UK over a period of more than 30 years.
Anthony d’Offay’s guiding principle for the creation of Artist Rooms is the concept of individual rooms devoted to particular artists. They have been assembled so that the work of important post-war artists can be seen and appreciated in depth. The primary aim is to create a new national resource of contemporary art that will strengthen displays and create exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the UK so as to inspire new audiences, especially of young people.
The American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe pushed the boundaries of his medium with both his subject matter and the innovative techniques he employed. Originally trained as a sculptor, his understanding of the human body extends through his photographs beyond the boundaries of sculpture in a way that has yet to be surpassed in either medium. His distinctive style possesses a classical quality that revels in the sensual quality of nature and the human body.
His work was often considered controversial but Mapplethorpe triumphed over legal campaigns, testing the right to individual freedom of expression. His work therefore also holds a significant place in the history of artistic struggle to depict the world as it is with honesty and truth.
The group of photographs in Artist Rooms collection is probably the best collection in the world after the Guggenheim Museum. The selection of works in Inverness focuses on his portraits - many depicting the most influential artists, writers and musicians of his day including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Patti Smith - and his iconic self-portraits.