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Portrait of Sam Wagstaff & Robert Mapplethorpe Presented by the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

BOULDER, CO.-The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) in association with Bent Lens Cinema, Boulder’s premier GLBTQ film society proudly presents BLACK, WHITE + GRAY, a documentary film about the relationship between obsessive collector Sam Wagstaff and controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This event is a part of Art Core, BMoCA’s adult education program developed to engage the Boulder community with programs that focus on art and life around contemporary art. This film will be shown at the Nomad Theater, 1410 Quince Ave. in Boulder on Thursday, February 26, 2009. Attendees are invited to bring something they collect to “show and tell.” This event is free (with a suggested donation at the door) and open to the public.

Yale-educated and born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Sam Wagstaff’s transformation from innovative museum curator to Robert Mapplethorpe’s lover and patron is intensively scrutinized in Black White + Gray. During the potent years of the 1970s and 1980s, the New York City art scene was abuzz with a new spirit, and Mapplethorpe was at the center of it. Wagstaff pulled Mapplethorpe from his suburban Queens existence, 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, Wagstaff, to the world of drugs and gay culture, well-documented in his still-startling photographs. A twenty-five year age difference separated the lovers, but their relationship was symbiotic to its core, and the two remained together. The film also explores the relationship both men had with musician/poet Patti Smith, whose 1975 debut album “Horses” catapulted her to fame. For more information about the film please visit

"Bent Lens Cinema is pleased to have a chance to work with BMoCA in bringing this superb film about the iconic arts couple, Robert Mapplethorpe and his partner, the much esteemed art collector and curator, Sam Wagstaff, to Boulder. While Mapplethorpe is the more well known, it was Wagstaff, and their long time friend Patti Smith, whose narration leads much of the film, who legitimized photography as a province of the serious collector." —Gus Spheeris, Bent Lens Cinema

“BMoCA is excited to collaborate with Boulder businesses, especially those supporting such important work as Bent Lens Cinema showcases. Combining and sharing the expertise and knowledge of local organizations with the museum will strengthen and revitalize the community during these economic times. We hope to build a win/win situation in partnering to achieve greater common goals.” —Sarah Kinn, Coordinator of Adult Programs, BMoCA

The museum is currently closed for renovation and will celebrate a grand reopening in mid-May. Due to construction timelines and the nature of remodeling a historic building, an official date is not yet available for release. The museum staff will continue to offer outstanding public education programming for adults and youth in off-site locations. Several community partners have stepped forward to assist the museum in this time of transition. Up-to-date information about ongoing art programs will be available on, under events or call 303.443.2122, ext. 18.

In an area rich in natural beauty, the museum represents one of the few institutions in Boulder devoted to a thorough, provocative and always compelling exploration of contemporary art. The museum’s current mission statement is: The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is a dynamic venue dedicated to the presentation of significant art of our time. Through an innovative program of regional, national, and international exhibition and performance, the museum inspires and educates its communities and visitors from around the world to explore the forefront and evolution of contemporary art.

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Portrait of Sam Wagstaff & Robert Mapplethorpe Presented by the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

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