Black White + Gray DVD examines the life and lives of influential curator and collector Sam Wagstaff, a veritable force in the art world for nearly three decades and the symbiotic relationship he shared with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in New York during the 1970s and 80s.
Yale-educated and from a priveledged family, Sam Wagstaff’s transformation from innovative museum curator to Robert Mapplethorpe’s lover and patron is intensively probed in this film. During 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 gave him a camera and brought him into an 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 S&M 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 until Wagstaff's death from AIDS. The film also explores the relationship both men had with musician/poet Patti Smith, whose 1975 debut album “Horses” catapulted her to fame.
Bonus feature includes an additional interview with Sam Wagstaff at the Corcoran Museum.
- Directed by James Crump
- 73 minutes