Gérard Basquiat: “My son, the genius”


Revue IntranQuîllités recently posted an interesting article from Paris Match (25 October 2010), “Gérard Basquiat: ‘Mon fils, ce génie.” The article came out when the Museum of Modern Art of Paris paid tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat (who died at age 27) with retrospective of his work. Here are excerpts and a link to the full article below (original in French):

Smiling, elegant, in a dark suit brightened by a yellow silk tie, with silver-gray temples and the air of a jazz man… Gérard Basquiat has style. He led the discussion in impeccable French, slightly reminiscent of his Haitian roots: “What size shoe are you?” he asked before handing me a pair of Reebok sneakers, customized with reproductions of his son’s drawings. “A souvenir for you …” Gérard Basquiat does not like to evoke memories [but he said] in a heavy voice, “Jean-Michel was exceptional. He was always extremely brilliant, with an incredible intelligence. He was a genius. At 4 years old, he already he spent all his time drawing. Cars, houses, figures, his mother, me … I used to bring him paper and pencils …”

And then he interrupts himself: “Now, enough is enough! I do not want to talk about my son’s life,” with a dark look and icy tone that hits like a punch. He is imposing, Gérard Basquiat, when he gives you the stare. Nervous silence, electric. His hand keeps tapping the glass table in his office. “It’s too painful, you know?” he finally whispered. No wonder he has never given an interview … No words can convey the weight of suffering.

But beyond the pain of bereavement, there are also conflicting reports between man—an immigrant from Haiti who became a respectable accountant—and his son, who wanted top billing in the New York of the 80s, the era of punk attitude, disco, money and sex. The latter being the most free before the AIDS years. Hence, the taboo of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s life, a story as resounding as his work, between grandeur and decadence. [. . .]

For full article (in French), see http://www.parismatch.com/Culture/Art/Gerard-Basquiat-Mon-fils-ce-genie-152585

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