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2014 Marfield Prize

2014 Marfield Prize Winner: Philip Gefter

Philip Gefter headshot

The Arts Club of Washington will award its ninth annual Marfield Prize, National Award for Arts Writing, to author Philip Gefter for his book, Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe (Liveright). Gefter will be honored at an awards dinner on Thursday, May 21 at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW, Washington, DC. On Wednesday, May 20 at 7:30pm, the Arts Club hosts a free public program featuring an interview with Sarah Greenough, Senior Curator and Head, Department of Photographs, National Gallery of Art, Washington and Mr. Gefter, along with a reading from his award-winning book. In addition, the author will conduct a program for public high school students during his Washington stay.

Wagstaff Book Cover

Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe
Sam Wagstaff, the legendary curator, collector, and patron of the arts, emerges as a cultural visionary in this groundbreaking biography. Although today remembered primarily as the mentor and lover of Robert Mapplethorpe, the once-infamous photographer, Wagstaff, in fact, had an incalculable—and largely overlooked—influence on the world of contemporary art and photography, and on the evolution of gay identity in the latter part of the 20th century. Positioning Wagstaff’s personal life against the rise of photography as a major art form and the simultaneous formation of the gay rights movement, Philip Gefter’s absorbing biography provides a searing portrait of New York just before and during the age of AIDS. The result is a definitive and memorable portrait of a man and an era.

About Philip Gefter
Gefter’s previous work includes Photography After Frank, a book of essays published by Aperture in 2009. He was on staff at the New York Times for more than 15 years, where he wrote regularly about photography. He also produced the feature-length documentary, entitled Bill Cunningham New York, in 2011. The film received nominations for best documentary from the Directors’ Guild of America; the Producers’ Guild of America; and the Independent Spirit Awards.


2015 Finalist Covers

2014 Marfield Prize Finalists:

Justin Martin, Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians (Da Capo Press)

James Harvey, Watching Them Be: Star Presence on the Screen (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Philip Gefter, Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe (Liveright)

Stanley Plumly, The Immortal Evening (W.W. Norton & Company)

Ellen T. Harris, George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends (W.W. Norton & Company)

Joan Rothfuss, Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman (The MIT Press)


2014 Marfield Prize Judges:

Remica L. Bingham, director of writing and faculty development at Old Dominion University, Cave Canem fellow, and member of the Affrilachian Poets

Alan Michael Parker, professor of English at Davidson College and author of three novels and eight collections of poems

Candace Katz, former deputy director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and former director of the education division at the National Endowment for the Humanities

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