“As soon as everyone knew about his fisting photographs, his lilies gained an edge,” curator Edward Steichen once said, remembering how Robert Mapplethorpe got away with shooting unquestionably pretty photos of flowers in a 1970s and '80s art world wary of beauty. It was because he'd also shot unquestionably pretty but explicit and unnerving photos of men in compromising positions wearing S&M masks. LACMA curator Britt Salveson has installed Mapplethorpe's X (S&M images), Y (flower still lifes) and Z (nude African-American men) portfolios in rows, stacked one on top of the other. So you can't look at an iris or a rose without seeing a man in leather or with his fly unzipped. 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; through March 24. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 21. Continues through March 24, 2012

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