The exhibition focuses on musicians and artists, including his beloved friend Patti Smith, as well as Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop, David Hockney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

422 Robert Mapplethorpe, David Hockney, 1976
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

The photographs examine society's interest in the phenomenon of celebrity culture and self-promotion. Most of the works are in black and white, and reflect Mapplethorpe's aesthetic of combining classical beauty with provocative subject matter, opening up a dialogue between the traditions of classical art with society's modern obsessions.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith (1975) © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith (1975)
© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

The works in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of ARTIST ROOMS, which are owned by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, which holds one of the world's most significant collections of Mapplethorpe's photography.

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Magic in the Muse is at the Bowes Museum in County Durham until 24th April, 2016.