Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

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[Many thanks to AICA Caraïbe du Sud for bringing this item to our attention.] Although “Toute une vie” by Matthieu Garrigou-Lagrange is from 2013, it is always fun to hear more about one of my favorite artists. This article gathers information about Jean-Michel Basquiat, including Garrigou-Lagrange’s program, a talk by Marie-Sophie Carron de la Carrière at Paris’s Museum of Modern Art: Basquiat: Sa vie en 4 oeuvres [Basquiat: His Life in 4 Artworks], and David Shulman’s 2017 Jean-Michel Basquiat. La rage créative. To listen to the program, and see videos, bibliography and filmography, go to France Culture.

With one foot in the street and another in the hype world of art, Jean-Michel Basquiat embodied the transition from the street and city subways to the chic galleries of a New York City in full revamp and in full expansion in the 80s.

In the past, he frequented Madonna, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, the Fab 5, Toxic, or Julian Schnabel. And today, fashion, hip hop, and Jay Z sing about him, recycle him, and reclaim him as their icon. Many of them revisit Basquiat’s life, as the price tags for his work soar.

Twenty-five years after his death, his paintings have just reached record prices, approaching $50 million at Christie’s in New York, his city, which he embodies so fully and painted so much. Introduced to painting at a very young age, by his mother who took him to MOMA and the Guggenheim in New York, Basquiat was also attracted very early on to words, literature, and poetry.

We didn’t know that a few years later the world would be transformed, that they would look at us all with big eyes and say “Wow.” Our environment was very chaotic, it was improvised, there was paint everywhere, but our workshop was a sanctuary for us.” Lee Jaffe

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Beyond the Basquiat myth, and the urban legends of Jean-Michel, we will follow the footprints of Jean, Jean-Michel, Baskiatte, and SAMO, the friend, artist, and fellow traveler of Toxic, Al Diaz, or Liza Cooper. From Crosby Street to his loft on Great Jones Street, we will be in the company of his close friends, who, for the most part, have never spoken about him …

In New York, on either side of the Brooklyn Bridge, here is the story of a local kid, the story of an artist that posterity has locked into an icon of a child, of an enfant terrible, or a radiant child. Basquiat The Radiant Child, a kind of Peter Pan from New York, who would not live over 27 years… consumed by artificial paradises.

He was not at all elegant, he was pretty direct, fairly raw, and painfully honest, and then he was high all the time.” Liza Cooper

Here is the story of a 16-year-old boy, a little tempestuous, who is trying to express an interior bubbling onto walls. With his peroxided crest, he reads Marc Twain, Mallarmé, or Williams Borroughs, stays for hours in front of Picasso’s Guernica, is passionate about comic books, and sprays the principal of his high school with shaving cream.

This exclusive ride in a New York that has changed a lot, will probe how this young man straddling two worlds—the one with the star system where money flows freely, and the one of the street—could revolutionize art in the 80s.

With Al Diaz, childhood friend and co-author of SAMO, Basquiat’s first signature; Toxic, friend and artist; Stephen Torton, his assistant, who in 1981 was building his chassis; Lisa Cooper, friend, now a stylist for Beyoncé and Rihanna; Hervé Di Rosa, artist who lived in New York in the 80s (he did an exhibition with Basquiat, Combas and Keith Harring in Paris); Edward Nahem, gallery owner on 5th Avenue in New York; Jerry Lauren, co-founder of the Ralph Lauren brand, collector, and buyer of Basquiat’s work, recorded during the last sale at Christies in New York; Lee Jaffe, friend, painter, and photographer, with whom Basquiat went on a first class mini-world tour; Némo and Lee Quinones, artists, curators, and friends of Basquiat’s New York beginnings. [. . .]

[A documentary by Elodie Maillot, directed by Gaël Gillon. Mixing: Eric Boisset. Production assistant: Laurence Jennepin. Collaboration: Juliette Dronne. (1st broadcast: October 12, 2013).]

On the occasion of a retrospective dedicated to Jean-Michel Basquiat by the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, Marie-Sophie Carron de la Carrière retraces his life in 4 works. [. . .] [To view this video and others, go to https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/une-vie-une-oeuvre/jean-michel-basquiat-1960-1988-0?utm_medium=Social&utm_sf]

[Photo above by Lee Jaffe, Getty. Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1983 in St. Moritz, Switzerland.]

Translated by Ivette Romero. For the original (in French) see https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/une-vie-une-oeuvre/jean-michel-basquiat-1960-1988-0?utm_medium=Social&utm_sf

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