Robert Mapplethorpe is arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Mapplethorpe discovered himself both sexually and artistically in New York City throughout the 70's and 80's. The film explores Mapplethorpe's life from moments before he and Patti Smith moved into the famed Chelsea hotel, home to a world of bohemian chic. Here he begins photographing it's inhabitants and his new found circle of friends including artists and musicians, socialites, film stars, and members of the S&M underground. Mapplethorpe's work displayed erotisim in a way that had never been examined nor displayed before to the public.