City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

NGS Photography Gallery Named After Robert Maplethorpe


By edg - Posted on 24 May 2012

Prater Wheel, Vienna

The new Photography Gallery in the recently refurbished Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, has been named after Robert Mapplethorpe, the provocative American photographer who died of AIDS in 1989. The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) said that the Robert Maplethorpe Foundation is giving a total of $300,000 (£190,000) over the next three years towards "innovative displays, exhibitions, research and related publications" in the purpose-built photography space.

John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: “The photography collections at the NGS count among the finest anywhere in the world. This extremely generous grant from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation will help us to unlock the potential of these holdings and create new and engaging displays of international quality.”

The Foundation has supported the NGS in the past with assistance on the major retrospective of the artist’s work at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2006 and through its assistance in helping to create a major holding of Mapplethorpe ARTIST ROOMS, a collection of modern and contemporary art owned jointly by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland and established through The Anthony d’Offay Donation in 2008.

ARTIST ROOMS showcases work of individual artists. Works by Mapplethorpe have toured with ARTIST ROOMS to various venues in Scotland including Inverness Art Gallery and Museum and they are currently on display at Dunoon Burgh Hall (28 March to 8 July) before travelling to Linlithgow Burgh Halls (20 July to 28 October) and then to Perth Museum and Art Gallery (10 November to 27 April 2013).

Michael Ward Stout, President of The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation commented: “Our board of directors is delighted to have the opportunity to further the goals of such a distinguished facility of the National Galleries of Scotland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. After getting to know the NGS, and its very impressive Director, John Leighton, we can think of no better European presence for our engagement.”

The exhibitions planned for The Robert Mapplethorpe Photography Gallery include a display devoted to the work of Czech photographer, Jitka Hanzlová (17 October 2012 to 3 February 2013) and an exhibition of work by Edith Tudor-Hart.

This will be the first full retrospective of the photography of Edith Tudor-Hart, one of the most significant documentary photographers of the 1930s.

Bringing together work shot in Vienna, London, Wales and Scotland, it will bring to light resonant photography of the Depression era and explore the double life of Tudor-Hart as photographer and Soviet agent.

The photograph above is Prater Wheel, Vienna by Edith Tudor-Hart.

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The photo above reminds me of the scene near the end of the Third Man where Orson Welle's machiavellian character looks down from the big wheel dismisses the people as insignificant specks on the ground. Wouldnt be surprised if it was an influence. When the film came out in 1949, it would be around 20 years after this photo.