New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has received an endowment from the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation to launch a photography conservation fellowship. The aim of the fellowship will be to care for, preserve, and research the photographs in its collection.
In 1992, the foundation named the Guggenheim as the recipient of nearly 200 Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, making the museum one of the most comprehensive public collections of Mapplethorpe works in the world.
Richard Armstrong, director of the Guggenheim, said in a statement,
We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Mapplethorpe Foundation and applaud its commitment to the long-term research and stewardship of the Guggenheim’s growing photography collection [. . .] This endowment allows the Guggenheim to create a professional fellowship program, instilling conservators and curators with the knowledge to safeguard our collection for future generations.
Robert Mapplethorpe established the foundation in 1988, less than a year before he would die of complications due to AIDS. According to the foundation’s site, Mapplethorpe founded the organization to further “the recognition of photography as an art form having the same respect as painting and sculpture and supporting AIDS and HIV medical research.”
In conjunction with the 30-year anniversary of the artist’s death, a yearlong exhibition “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now” is on view at the Guggenheim through January 5, 2020.