– Highlights

Mca Collection

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

01 Sep - 31 Dec


The National 2017

30 Mar - 18 Jun


Kader Attia

12 Apr - 30 Jul

– Learning Events

Special Event

ARTBAR March 2017

31 Mar, 7.00pm, MCA


Art + Film: Curated by Erin Coates

01 Apr, 2.00pm, Level 2: Veolia Lecture Theatre


Educators conference: 6-7 April

06 Apr, 6.00pm, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

– News from inside the MCA

Girl On Film: Erin Coates

The National 2017: New Australian Art artist Erin Coates gets in the driving seat for our April film experience more

Diary of an MCA Trainee

Fiona learns that contemporary art doesn’t have to be a puzzle you can’t solve. more

Art Escapades

Artist Educator Nicole Barakat talks about our new Art Escapades program for 3-5 year olds. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.


Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


23 Feb 1995 to 30 Apr 1995

Guest Curator: Germano Celant

About the Exhibition

Robert Mapplethorpe’s high degree of visibility is in part due to the controversy that surrounded his work, reaching a crescendo following his death in 1989. However, in reality, the images which created this controversy – works depicting taboo aspects of sexuality – comprised a relatively small part of his monumental body of work.

This retrospective allowed Australian audiences to see the full thematic and technical range of Mapplethorpe’s oeuvre, for the first time. The curator, Germano Celant, then of the Guggenheim Museum, selected 209 works from Mapplethorpe’s prolific career, of which approximately 100 were silver gelatin prints, and the rest were works in other media including platinum prints on paper, silk and canvas.

Mapplethorpe did not train as a photographer, however he became fascinated with the history of photography and with its technical potential. He immersed himself in a study of works by the masters of the medium, including Edward Weston, Julia Margaret Cameron, Cecil Beaton and others, and explored printing techniques including colour Polaroid, photogravure, platinum prints on paper and on linen, Cibachromes and dye-transfer processes.

Mapplethorpe’s unique vision was an amalgam of influences, innovations and a personal quality that the artist himself was at a loss to describe: ‘I don’t understand the way my pictures are. It’s all about the relationship I have with the subject that’s unique to me. Taking a picture and sexuality are parallels. They’re both unknowns. And that’s what excites me most.’

Exhibition courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York

Tour Itinerary

Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, Denmark: 8 February – 24 May 1992
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany: 30 June – 20 August 1992
Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, Italy: 30 August 1992 – 3 January 1993
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden: 30 January – 21 March 1993
Turun Taidemuseo, Turku, Finland: 7 April – 31 May 1993
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium: 5 June 1 August 1993
Museo Pecci, Prato, Italy: 25 September 1993 – 7 January 1994
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel: 27 January – 5 April 1994
Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain: 21 April – 19 June 1994
KunstHausWien, Vienna, Austria: 8 September 1994 – 29 January 1995