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ABOUT THE FILM

Black, White + Gray

When he died in 1987, Sam Wagstaff left behind a photography collection worth $5 million at the Getty Museum – and very few solid facts about his life. A revolutionary figure in the 1970s New York art scene, Wagstaff organised the first exhibition of Minimalist art and championed avant-garde talents like Andy Warhol. During the heady years of the 1970s and 1980s, the New York City art scene was abuzz with a new spirit with Robert Mapplethorpe at its centre. 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 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 forever.

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