Black White + Gray

Black White + Gray

(2007)

Fascinating and contentious, James Crump’s documentary illuminates the life and career of curator and collector Sam Wagstaff, a man overshadowed in the annals of art by his lover and protégé Robert Mapplethorpe. Amassing testimony from friends and associates including Dominick Dunne and Patti Smith, Crump portrays the relationship as pivotal to both, but utterly crucial for Mapplethorpe, whose career might never have happened without the older Wagstaff’s taste and guidance. Mapplethorpe meanwhile released the privileged (and movie-star handsome) Wagstaff from the closet and launched him headlong into the intensely hedonistic gay life of Manhattan – just as AIDS was making its initial devastating entrance. 

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