Basquiat and the Bayou is the not-to-miss show at Prospect.3


This article by Dough MacCAsh appeared in The Times-Picayune. We encourage you to click on the link below to see additional images, a video, a reprinted interview with Basquiat and links to other interesting materials.

Prospect.3 New Orleans, the third iteration of the citywide international art exhibition that first wowed the art world in 2008, takes place Oct. 25 through Jan. 25. The big, irregularly scheduled show promises to provide Crescent Cityites and visitors with dozens of individual exhibits in venues across the city.

As reported by | The Times-Picayune in August 2013, the No. 1 stop is sure to be “Basquiat and the Bayou,” a collection of Southern-oriented artworks by the late superstar Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Basquiat (1960-1988) is certainly the most famous artist of his generation, and his work remains resonant today. He began as a teenage graffiti writer during the late ’70s, early ’80s heyday of tagging. Discovered by the commercial art world, Basquiat’s expressionist painting style soon led to immense popularity and profit. In time, Basquiat became the painterly protégé of Pop art legend Andy Warhol. The 27-year-old artist traveled to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1988. That same year, his meteoric art world rise ended, when he died of a drug overdose. His life story was told in the 1996 film, “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child.”

In a written statement, Prospect.3 curator Franklin Sirmans said that “‘Basquiat and the Bayou’ explores a body of work representing Basquiat’s internal fight with the shadows of the American South, shaped by a long history of slavery, colonialism and imperialism. New Orleans is the crossroads where the Mississippi greets the Middle Passage, and shortly before his death, Basquiat visited the city. He knew the importance to his work of the South and New Orleans specifically. The selection of works in the present exhibition explores themes of geography, history, and cultural legacy in Basquiat’s work in a number of ways.”

Art lovers preparing for Prospect.3 will find a brief, vivid primer on Basquiat’s style in the New York Times’ 2013 review “Inner Demons, Exorcised With Paint: ‘Jean-Michel Basquiat’ at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea” by Ken Johnson, which includes the passage:

“At a casual glance Basquiat’s paintings look as if they’d been made by a brilliant, autodidactic schizophrenic driven to download his inner demons, obsessions and fantastical ideas by whatever means possible. He worked rapidly with brushes, oil-stick markers, spray paint and other implements… You can imagine the creative persona Basquiat’s art conjures, muttering and chortling to himself while compulsively improvising his chartlike compositions of cartoon images, glyphic signs and enigmatic word lists.”

For the original report go to

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