Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007)
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Critic Reviews for Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe
Crump's film colourfully depicts Wagstaff's complex inner mindset and rarefied eye for imagery by allowing the stunning prints to linger on the screen.
The movie makes its main point. Wagstaff was an important, complex, fascinating figure, well worth remembering.
Wagstaff's character accounts for some of the frustration the film induces. Crumb's documentary style accounts for the rest.
Wagstaff was a fascinating figure and deserves the detailed tribute provided here.
A potent exercise in art-world mythography.
Audience Reviews for Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe
In cataloguing the relationship between art collector Sam Wagstaff and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, the documentary "Black White and Gray" does a good job of showing the role of the collector in the art world, especially Wagstaff who was very influential in shaping tastes, especially in the realm of photography. The emphasis is more on Wagstaff which is okay since so much has already been written about Mapplethorpe. Strangely enough on the subject of Mapplethorpe's photgraphy, the movie is oddly timid, going around in circles in desperately avoiding to admit the eroticism of the photographs. The same could be said about the details of the relationship.(Luckily, Patti Smith is on hand to fill in the blanks of how unique it was, with her actually being an equal partner.) Yes, it is possible that Mapplethorpe used Wagstaff but if that's the case, then I would agree that Wagstaff also used him, as like any relationship both partners had a profound effect on each other and on the wider art world.
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