Some might call it degeneracy

Filmed in 1968 by noted photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s friend and neighbor Sandy Daley and featuring an original score by his (by then former) girlfriend Patti Smith, Robert Having His Nipple Pierced was an experimental short film that finds Mapplethorpe- tripping on acid- having his nipple pierced by the Chelsea Hotel’s house physician Herb Krohn.

“[Mapplethorpe]…enlisted the aid of Dr. Herb Krohn, the Chelsea’s resident physician, who, after warning him that he felt uncomfortable puncturing “cancer-prone” tissue, reluctantly agreed to perform the procedure. “It was an unusual request,” Krohn said, “but I’d lived at the Chelsea long enough so that nothing really surprised me.” Morrisroe, P.86 1

A feature length documentary on Mapplethorpe- “Look at the Pictures” is currently streaming on HBOGo.

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Notes:

  1. “Mapplethorpe: A Biography” by Patricia Morrisroe [1997].

Shawn Porter has spent the majority of his life in the modification world. As a body modification archivist and documentarian, he has one of the most extensive collections of documents relating to the early American body modification community in existence. He edited the SPC website from 1995 to 2005, co-founded ModCon, was the host of ModCons 3.5 and 4, and created and hosted The Scarwars Project from 2004-2007. In 2011 Shawn launched Occult Vibrations, a blog devoted to traditional American tattoos with a focus on the occult and esoteric. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife Julia and their creepy pets Mr. Bailey Papers and L. RonBenet Ramsey.

2 comments

  1. I adore that you included this on sacred debris. There’s so much forgotten crossover with the art world and modification.

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