Arthur Danto
[Writer, b. 1924, Ann Arbor, Michigan, lives in New York.]

 It takes a certain suspension of squeamishness to see a Polaroid that Mapplethorpe devoted to his own engorged penis, held erect like a blunt club by means of a leather loop around his testicles, in the same aesthetic terms as the Photo-Secessionist masterpieces ... But that was the paradox of Mapplethorpe’s achievement—to show what one can barely stand to look at in photographs so beautiful one can hardly takes one’s eye off them.