Yale-educated and born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Sam Wagstaff’s transformation from innovative museum curator to Robert Mapplethorpe’s lover and patron is intensively probed in Black White + Gray.
During the heady years of the 1970s and 1980s, the New York City art scene was abuzz with a new spirit, and Mapplethorpe would be at the center of it. Wagstaff pulled him from his suburban Queens existence, gave him a camera and brought him into this art world that seemed to be waiting for him, creating the man whose infamous images instilled emotions ranging from awe to anger. In turn, Mapplethorpe brought the formerly starched-shirt preppie to the world of drugs and gay SM sex, well-documented in his still-startling photographs. Twenty-five years separated the lovers, but their relationship was symbiotic to its core, and the two remained together forever.
The film also explores the relationship both men shared with musician/poet Patti Smith, whose 1975 debut album Horses simultaneously catapulted her to fame.
Black White + Gray
A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007)
A film by James Crump
1h 10 min, English
On view until Friday 24 April, 4 pm CET
Featuring Robert Mapplethorpe, Sam Wagstaff, Patti Smith, Dominick Dunne, Dick Cavett, John Richardson, Eugenia Parry and Philippe Garner
Official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival and Art Basel. Watch here: xavierhufkens.com/films/robert-mapplethorpe