The cancellation of The Mapplethorpe exhibition


JUNE 14 - OCTOBER 6, 2019

Flagg Building

500 17th St. NW Washington DC

Atrium Galleries

6.13.89: The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibition will explore the highly politicized and publicized cancellation of the 1989 exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment. On June 13, 1989, the Corcoran Gallery of Art bowed to significant political pressure and canceled the retrospective less than three weeks before it was scheduled to open to the public. The show was slated to display more than 150 works by the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, known for his bold depictions of the human form. 6.13.89 will present viewers with an unvarnished look at the Corcoran’s decision to cancel the show, presenting archival materials never before seen by the public and sourced from the Corcoran Archives at George Washington University’s Gelman Library.

This exhibition was organized by Sanjit Sethi, director of GW’s Corcoran School of the Arts & Design and presented in partnership with GW’s Gelman Library.

Curator’s Office director Andrea Pollan conceived of the Mapplethorpe projections against the Corcoran Gallery exterior walls in June 1989. Designed and engineered by laser and light artist Rockne Krebs. 

Mapplethorpe Protest Herrera.jpg

Frank Herrera, Protest of the cancellation of Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, June 30, 1989, Washington, DC Copyright: Frank Herrera