Noteworthy Exhibits at the Guggenheim

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by Miriam Silverberg

Photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe on the wall inside the Guggenheim Museum

Just came back from the Guggenheim Museum after seeing some exhibits I was interested in.  The first was Robert Mapplethorpe’s Photography.  Mapplethorpe was considered one of the greatest photographers of his generation and died of AIDS at the height of The epidemic.  No one feels wishy-washy about his work.  It’s “in your face” and you are either intrigued or appalled.  Almost all his photos are of nude men.  The main criticism during his lifetime was that he wasn’t interested in his subjects’ faces, souls or hearts— Just their genitals.  I agree.  But I still think it’s worth seeing.

Two women look at Basquiat's painting The Death of Michael Stewart, while another woman walks by in the gallery, which has supporting works on the walls

The other exhibit I was interested in seeing was Basquiat’s “Defacement” which takes as its starting point the painting, “The Death of Michael Stewart,” informally known as Defacement, created by Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1983.  It commemorates the fate of the young Black artist, Michael Stewart, at the hands of the NYC Transit Police after allegedly tagging a wall in an East Village subway station.

It was a deeply personal work rarely shown in public.  Other pieces of Basquiat’s work were also on view as were Michael Stewart’s and other black artists.  You should really see this.  You won’t be sorry.

Visitors looking at art inside the Guggenheim Museum

I also saw the work of a number of female artists.  Most of us are not too familiar with female artists’ work compared to their male counterparts.  Except for Nan Goldin and Louise Nevelson I wasn’t familiar with any other artists on view.  My fault, not theirs.  I enjoyed immensely.  This is something every Tomato should see.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan.  She may be reached at


  • Museums

    New York City has some of the best museums in the world, large and small. Exploring NYC's cultural activities is highlight of living or visiting here.

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