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Tough & Tender Media Release

14 July 2016

Spencer 2016, by Warwick Baker
Spencer 2016, by Warwick Baker

Photographs from internationally acclaimed artists Robert Mapplethorpe, Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Collier Schorr and Chris Burden along with contemporary Australian artists, Rozalind Drummond and Warwick Baker will call the National Portrait Gallery home during our extraordinary winter exhibition Tough and Tender

Tough and Tender explores youth, the coming of age, intimacy and emotional vulnerability through photography. These landmark photographs, some of which have never been displayed before, explore the complexities of masculinity and gender within an intimate and raw framework composed with sensitivity and candour. 

This will be the first time Collier Schorr’s exquisite photographswill be seen in this country. Exhibition curator Dr Christopher Chapman says, 'Schorr’s explorations of gender and identity typify her fine art photographs which have never before been seen in Australia. In this exhibition her photographs of young German soldiers surrender to her camera.’

Tough and Tender is curated by Dr Christopher Chapman, Senior Curator, National Portrait Gallery who has maintained a long-term scholarly investigation of masculinity in visual art. He has written on the topic in his doctoral thesis which examined adolescent masculinity and themes of self-sacrifice in contemporary photography and film. 

'We see boy hustlers acting tough in Larry Clark’s photos but we know they really crave protection and love. While Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos thrill to the sensation of smooth skin. These images show that when you reveal your deepest feelings, there’s always the risk of a broken heart,’ says Christopher.

Please note: This exhibition contains some artistic photography of adult nudes and a video documenting historical performance-art where the artist places himself in dangerous situations. 

Tough and Tender will be on display to the public from Friday 15 July until Sunday 16 October 2016.

Diane Morris
Marketing & Media
02 6102 7080
0408 491 545