After the Moment: Reflections on Robert Mapplethorpe at the Contemporary Arts Center has been instructional for showing us what the public wants in terms of Mapplethorpe remembrance.
The audience, it turned out, wanted some history of what happened in Cincinnati in 1990, when the CAC’s presentation of The Perfect Moment, the Mapplethorpe retrospective, caused the conservative political establishment to prosecute it on obscenity charges. (The CAC won.) And people wanted to see some of the photographs involved in the “culture wars” battles of the period, because some of those battles still seem alive.
Ultimately the audience got that, thanks especially to Steven Matijcio, the CAC’s curator, and guest curator William Messer. The latter organizes photography exhibits at Iris BookCafé and was curating shows at the Images photography gallery back in 1990. He also is a photographer.
Originally, the main thrust of After the Moment appeared to be the presentation of new and current work. To that end, six regional guest curators each chose five local artists who would address the making of art in today’s “post-Mapplethorpe” environment.