Thirty years after photographer and visual artist Robert Mapplethorpe’s untimely death, it’s difficult to turn away from the compelling emotional complexity of his influential body of work. In this new performance piece, music, poetry, and photography come together in a theatrical context, exploring the impact Mapplethorpe’s work had on the lives and careers of composer Bryce Dessner (The National) and librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle.
This major collaboration with director Kaneza Schaal, features the poetry of Tuttle, Essex Hemphill, Patti Smith, and others as well as the choral group Roomful of Teeth. It revisits the formative impact of Mapplethorpe’s work, inviting the audience to simultaneously experience Dessner’s music against some of the most captivating and divisive words and images the world has ever known.
Through music and large-scale projection of Mapplethorpe’s images, this extraordinary work allows the audience to peer inside Mapplethorpe’s bold, insatiable view of how human beings look, touch, feel, hurt, and love one another.
Triptych will contain a frank discussion of sexuality, queer identity, and race, and may include photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorpe depicting sexuality, sexual acts, nudity, flowers, and classical portraiture.