Robert Mapplethorpe: Paris welcomes an erotic great – thanks to Patti Smith

This photographer once dismissed as a shallow sensation-seeker of the 80s is getting the recognition he deserves with a show at the Grand Palais, Paris’s high temple of art – and it’s all down to Smith.

The Grand Palais in Paris is one of Europe’s most serious exhibition spaces. It is where France honours its great artists. This week, it opened a big exhibition dedicated to a US artist who has often been dismissed as a shallow sensation-seeker of the 1980s. Why is Robert Mapplethorpe, who died in 1989, getting this high-level retrospective now? Does he deserve it?

This dark angel of beauty more than deserves his exhibition in Paris.

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