The Mapplethorpe Wars

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It was 20 years ago this month that the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C. decided to cancel a show of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe rather than risk a confrontation with culture war conservatives who were gunning to take down the National Endowment for the Arts. They came close to taking it down anyway and we’re still crawling out of the rubble. In Time this week I took a look back at the whole nasty episode and the semi-comic criminal trial that followed when the show moved on to Cincinnati.