How a Museum Cancelling a Controversial Mapplethorpe Exhibition Changed My Life

As an Intern at the Corcoran, I Suddenly Understood the Power of Art

Twenty-seven years ago, controversy erupted over Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs. It changed my life.

In June 1989, I was 22, a newly declared art history major at Northwestern University, about to start an internship at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The child of an art teacher and a psychiatrist who grew up in the small, accepting town of Lincoln, Massachusetts, I’d been going to museums in the Boston area, and making and looking at art, since I was young. I lived just a short distance from the de Cordova …

Capturing Queer America, 30 Years After Mapplethorpe

Molly Landreth’s Portraits Recall Classic Images While Obliterating Familiar Narratives

In classic gay coming-of-age stories, the small-town misfit escapes to the big city—the bigger the better. Robert Mapplethorpe left his home in Floral Park, Queens for art school in Brooklyn …

Is the Media Going Too Far in Exposing the Theranos Founder’s Ugly Side?

As Scandal Broke Around CEO Elizabeth Holmes, Her Once-Glamorous Image Became Increasingly Unflattering

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the controversial blood-testing company Theranos, used to look good—physically beautiful even—in published photographs: On the cover of the June 2014 issue of Fortune, Holmes was …

Why Ansel Adams Made His Black Even Blacker

The Photographer Projected a More Perfect Union by Taking Artistic Liberty With His Yosemite Landscapes

Ansel Adams’ Half Dome, Blowing Snow, Yosemite National Park, is a classic landscape photograph, one that draws upon decades of dramatic imagery touting the far West as the ultimate expression …

Life in Iran Is a Wistful Elegy for the Past

On a Trip Back to My Father’s Homeland, I Found a Country Made Generous by Its Sorrow

It was late April, and the snow had only just melted in Meygoon, a mountain town north of Tehran.

I had arrived in Iran the night before and was staying …

Elizabeth Taylor Never Appeared in Her Final, Most Intimate Portrait

To Capture the Heart of a Hollywood Legend, Catherine Opie Turned Her Camera Toward the Actress’ Home, Chanel Shoes, and Kitchen Table

When they hear the word “portrait,” most people assume they’ll see an image of a human figure. Catherine Opie’s new collection of photographs, 700 Nimes Road, doesn’t quite answer that …