There’s some interesting Robert Mapplethorpe-related programming happening this weekend at The Block Museum in conjunction with their Polaroids: Mapplethorpe exhibition. On Friday night, they’re screening “Still Moving,” one of only two films directed by Mapplethorpe along with “Blacke, White + Gray,” a documentary about Sam Wagstaff, Mapplethorpe’s lover and a formative influence. On Saturday afternoon, the Block hosts a panel discussion featuring Cathie Opie and others on Mapplethorpe’s art and activism, moderated by Lane Relyea. Details on both programs below.

Date: March 6, 2009
Time: 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Title: Double Feature: ‘Still Moving’ & ‘Blacke, White + Grey’
Description: One of two films directed by Robert Mapplethorpe, Still Moving is in the words of its creators “a homage to William Blake” made in collaboration with Patti Smith. Courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Introduced by Block Museum of Art Senior Curator Deb Wood. Black, White + Gray is a documentary about Sam Wagstaff, who was a formative influence on Robert Mapplethorpe. A Yale graduate and naval ensign in WWII, Wagstaff went on to work as an advertising man during the heyday of Madison Avenue and then as an art curator and photography collector. Perhaps best known as Mapplethorpe’s lover and patron, Wagstaff gave Mapplethorpe his first large format camera. This documentary traces his remarkable life from its conventional beginnings through his fascinating career in the arts to his death in 1987 of AIDS. Introduced by Block Museum of Art Senior Curator Deb Wood.

Date: March 7, 2009
Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Title: Robert Mapplethorpe: Artist and Activist
Description: A panel discussion exploring Robert Mapplethorpe’s influence on contemporary photography, activism, and issues of the body and sexuality. Participants include photographer Catherine Opie, “Polaroids: Mapplethorpe” exhibition curator Syliva Wolf, former Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation collections consultant Marisa Cardinale, and University of Maryland American studies and women’s studies professor Jeffrey McCune Jr. Moderated by Northwestern University art theory and practice professor Lane Relyea. A reception follows. Sponsored by Gender Studies Program, Northwestern University. This event is part of Three American Photographers: In-Depth, a series of educational programs at the Block Museum generously sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Northwestern University.

Claudine Isé

Claudine Isé has worked in the field of contemporary art as a writer and curator for the past decade, and currently serves as the Editor of the Art21 Blog. Claudine regularly writes for and Chicago magazine, and has also worked as an art critic for the Los Angeles Times. Before moving to Chicago in 2008, she worked at the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH as associate curator of exhibitions, and at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles as assistant curator of contemporary art, where she curated a number of Hammer Projects. She has Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture from the University of Southern California.