Padre Gallery in New York is proud to present the solo show “Painting to the Star”, featuring photographs by Javier Porto. Curated by Pablo Villazan.
Robert Mapplethorpe´s studio in Manhattan New York at 24 Bond Street was the setting where in 1984 Javier Porto took the photographs that make up the show “Painting to the Star”, a set of images that allow us to witness a historical moment. We can see the main protagonists of the cultural and artistic movement of NY in the 1980s working on a common project, the cover of interview magazine. A project commissioned by Andy Warhol having the disco star Grace Jones as a model. Her body would be the canvas in which Keith Haring would paint one of his most beautiful creations. Robert Mapplethorpe would be in charge of photographing the model once the work was finished. During this whole process, Javier Porto photographed the protagonists, he documented every moment. Photographer Javier Porto´s career began as a street photographer in Madrid during the late-70s at the pivotal point of cultural change following the death of dictator Francisco Franco. ‘The Movement’ or ‘La Movida Madrileña’ as it was known, saw the rigid social structures that had been implemented previously crumble and as a result of economic growth, exposed many in urban areas to the excesses of pornography, drugs and prostitution. These years of cultural debauchery are reflected in the photographer’s early work, a time during which, he also visited the Fernando Vijande Gallery where a chance encounter with Robert Mapplethorpe would change the course of his career. In 1984, Porto moved across the Atlantic to New York and became Mapplethorpe´s assistant. In contrast to Madrid, New York was experiencing an economic slump, the results of which led to a similar environment that Madrid had a few years earlier, drawing distinct parallels between the two cities. Immersing himself in the New York art scene, Porto was surrounded by Mapplethorpe´s friends and acquaintances – a group consisting of musicians, artists, porn stars and filmmakers – who became the focal point of his work, reflecting both his experiences working alongside the famed image-maker and the influence he had on him.