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...
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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.
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 minimalist, conceptual art was the fad; as a successful black artist, he was constantly confronted by racism and misconceptions. Much can be gleaned from insider interviews and archival footage, but it is Basquiat's own words and work that powerfully convey the mystique and allure of both the artist and the man.Written by
Sundance Film Festival
Tamra Davis created this documentary about her friend, the famous (or infamous) graffiti artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, (December 22, 1960 - August 12, 1988). The obvious love for the artist is evident in the manner Davis put together this series of interviews with those who knew him, sold his works, wrote about him, or were part of his large social entourage - Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi, Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Glenn O'Brien, Maripol, Kai Eric, Nicholas Taylor, Fred Hoffmann, Michael Holman, Diego Cortez, Annina Nosei, Suzanne Mallouk, and Rene Ricard. Davis also includes some rather in depth discussions and demonstrations by sharing his many works which many (including Davis) declare were the zenith of Neoexpressionism in America. The problem with the film as a film is the quality of camera work and editing: it is a bumpy ride. But as far as a collection of statements from Basquiat himself it is a treasure. It is hard to believe that he was one of the first popular black artists to draw international acclaim. Unfortunately the rigors of his public persona and the drugs that accompanied that resulted in his far too early death. His place in art history is secure, but at a terrible price.
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