Mapplethorpe, Marcia Weisman, and Barbie’s Ken

Ryan Linkof has an interesting post on LACMA’s “Unframed” blog about Marcia Weisman and Robert Mapplethorpe’s X portfolio. In 1978 Mapplethorpe’s S&M photos were shown at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art on Robertson Boulevard. Weisman, one of LAICA’s founders, objected and “didn’t really call for quite a while after that,” according to LAICA director Robert Smith. (At left, David Hockney‘s 1968 portrait American Collectors [Fred and Marcia Weisman].)

Smith had better luck with a LAICA fundraiser held across the street in the Hamilton High School gym. The crowd clapped to Mapplethorpe’s film Robert Having His Nipple Pierced. Hamilton High is best known as the school of Mattel founder Ruth Handler’s two children Barbie and Ken. Ken Handler resented being the namesake of his mother’s genital-challenged doll. The real Ken was bisexual and died of AIDS in 1994.

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