If you ever longed to have an Andy Warhol “Factory” moment, then a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibition “Focus: Perfection – Robert Mapplethorpe“, will quickly transport you into a world of shapes whether it be the human body (a sexual act projected in a statue form/a mélange of “sculptural” bodies) or simply the pure beauty of close-ups of flowers. The exhibition will lead you through the many different styles that marked Mapplethorpe’s artistry as a true pioneering influence when it comes to themes and subjects such as gender, race and sexual identity.

I had the pleasure to attend the Unplugged event by The Young Philanthropists’ Circle (YPC) in early December, an organization that urges a younger generation to get involved and educated when it comes to Art in general while networking and socializing. Over four hundred young professionals were present during an evening of live music accompanied by a spectacular voguing dance performance in true Madonna 80s spirit.

Mapplethorpe will challenge your mind with his rather controversial work but I dare say even the most explicit photos are never obscene.

He was one of the most influential photographers to support the underground BDSM scene in late 60s to early 70s in the Big Apple. He himself passed away at the mere age of 42 due to complications from HIV/AIDS. His exhibitions and personal foundation has raised a great amount of money for research in the fight against AIDS and HIV infection.

This is the only Canadian venue for the exhibition that features close to 300 pieces tracing a career from early 60s until his death in ’89. The exhibition has already drawn over half a million visitors in Los Angeles. Don’t miss your chance to view his emotionally charged images of male and female nudes, self-portraits and celebrities such as Isabella Rossellini, Richard Gere and Mapplethorpe’s close friend Patti Smith, whom he created several album covers for.

I urge you to take the time to go emerge yourself in his beautiful almost exclusively black & white photos, with the exception of some of his later work that disclose colours. This is far from an exhibition of simply pornographic images, this is an experience of erotic glimpses which I personally would call high art. Mapplethorpe’s work will raise dispute, maybe even arouse you but most of all it will leave you with an altered perception of what erotic beauty can enounce and true perfection of form.

Exhibition runs until January 22nd – a MUST see.