Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary but also delves into Basquiat as an iconoclast. His dense, bebop-influenced neoexpressionist work emerged while... See full summary »
Jean Michel Basquiat,
The film is a day in the life of a young artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, who needs to raise money to reclaim the apartment from which he has been evicted. He wanders the downtown streets ... See full summary »
Jean Michel Basquiat,
Exploring the pre-fame years of the celebrated American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and how New York City, its people, and its tectonically shifting arts culture of the late 1970s and '80s shaped his vision.
The destiny of Sergio Leone from his poor childhood in a neighborhood under fascism in Rome until his last film in America. This guided the filmmaker's personal life and career to create his epic antiheroes and spaghetti westerns.
From Brooklyn to the Bronx, Soho to Greenwich, Union Square to Wall Street... Join us and the friends, collaborators and gallery owners who supported Jean-Michel Basquiat throughout his ... See full summary »
I appreciate art but rarely anything modern you see. Same with music, in fact I rarely listen to popular music from later than 1980. I'd honestly never heard of Jean - Michel Basquiat until I read about a big exhibition of his which recently came to London. So, my interest piqued, I duly watched this documentary on his brief life and times, as he fatefully joined the celebrated "27" club of pop-cultural celebrities (including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, more recently Amy Winehouse) who never got to celebrate their 28th birthday as his life ended when he overdosed in his studio in New York in 1988.
Now, having read up on him, I'm aware that his art can sell for over $100 million and even if his work still doesn't move me the way my favourite older works (just like I know I'm never going to "get" rap music), I certainly got from this biographical documentary, the buzz of his arrival on the scene in New York, just when hip-hop music, early rap and break dancing were all getting underway.
His story is told by family members, contemporary friends, artists and lovers, interspersed with many clips of the somewhat diffident artist in his milieu, indeed I didn't realise he stood in for Grandmaster Flash in Blondie's "Rapture" music video of the time. Other cultural icons who make appearances in the narrative include a very brief cameo by the young Madonna, although only indirectly linked to Basquiat and Andy Warhol with a much larger role in Basqiuat's career as the young man's patron and mentor.
In the few video clips of the artist, he comes across as sometimes slightly bemused at others politically motivated, a complex kid for sure. We get to see his beginnings as a burgeoning graffiti artist on the streets of New York and even as a musician in a band, before eventually finding himself with his provocative large-form artworks. For some arty reason, the director has a middle-aged saxophone player interjecting some riffs between shots which I see as an attempt to claim the same cultural significance for Basquiat as a genius black man after the examples of say, Charlie Parker and later Jimi Hendrix, but it just looks like a gimmicky device from where I was sitting.
Basquiat won't be the last popular artist, in the broad term of the phrase to find himself struggling with success and finding misplaced succour in drugs or drink, but I'm glad I know more about him and his work, although even if I had a 100 mil available I doubt I'd ever actually buy one of his paintings.
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