Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe (2007)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Vital documentation of an unsung 70's art patron and his famous photographer lover. A vivid and tragic story.

Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe Photos

Movie Info

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Sam Wagstaff came home to New York City and pursued a career in advertising, and through his work in the ad game he developed a keen interest in photography. Reflecting his own personal evolution as he came to accept his homosexuality, Wagstaff became an enthusiastic collector of art photography and gained a reputation as a curator, organizing a number of important museum shows of new photographers and becoming a friend and confidante of artists such as Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Richard Tuttle, and Tony Smith. In the early '70s, Wagstaff met a young photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe, who shared a loft with his best friend, a poet and aspiring musician named Patti Smith. Wagstaff and Mapplethorpe became first friends and then lovers, and as enthusiastic supporters of Smith's work they traveled between New York's upscale art community and the punk rock scene that was emerging on the Bowery. Passionate allies in art and life who explored the edges of human experience, Wagstaff and Mapplethorpe were partners for life, but their lives were cut short by AIDS -- the disease claimed Wagstaff in 1987, and Mapplethorpe in 1989. Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe is a documentary by filmmaker James Crump that explores the lives of two remarkable people, their circle of talented friends, and the community and times which surrounded them. Black White + Gray received its world premiere at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.
Rating:
PG
Genre:
Documentary , Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest , Gay & Lesbian
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Critic Reviews for Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (10)

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.

Full Review… | August 15, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie makes its main point. Wagstaff was an important, complex, fascinating figure, well worth remembering.

Full Review… | February 14, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Wagstaff's character accounts for some of the frustration the film induces. Crumb's documentary style accounts for the rest.

Full Review… | February 1, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Wagstaff was a fascinating figure and deserves the detailed tribute provided here.

Full Review… | October 19, 2007
New York Daily News
Top Critic

A potent exercise in art-world mythography.

October 19, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

Black White & Gray raises provocative questions but can't answer them, or even frame them with total clarity.

Full Review… | October 18, 2007
Salon.com
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe

Excellent documentary on Maplethorpe, Wagstaff, and a lot on their interesting relationship with Patti Smith. Some interesting stories from many. Thoroughly enjoyed.

Tracy Fortenberry
Tracy Fortenberry
½

Well done doc about the rich art collector and curator Sam Wagstaff whose relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe has largely been overlooked. The film's handling of his photography collection,now at the Getty, is wonderful, and of course, I love Patti Smith. I lived in NY during part of the time covered, so I have a tiny bit of nostalgia.

Nick Demartino
Nick Demartino
½

Very touching AND intresting movie about the Art world and the encounters that change our lifes. The narration is perfect though the movie itself could have been more intresting visually. However, for every Art lover it is a must-see doc.

Elvira Lup?a
Elvira Lup?a

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