Xerjoff Magazine

30 years without Jean-Michel Basquiat

Writer

Exhibitions, films and musicals celebrate Jean-Michel Basquiat- Andy Warhol’s apprentice and great artist from New York- who passed away 30 years ago

30 years after his untimely death, the New York writer and painter Jean-Michel Basquiat is celebrated with a series of interesting events.

While a retrospective dedicated to him, is held at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne) until January 24th exhibiting 120 of his works between 1980 and 1988, Alan D. and Barbara Marks, two Broadway producers have created a musical dedicated to the artist. The theatrical project, directed by John Doyle, retraces the steps of Basquiat’s life. A story of a street artist who created poetic graffiti signed SAMO on the surfaces of abandoned buildings in the Lower East Side, and who became an internationally renowned painter dying at the age of 27 for drug abuse. That of Basquiat is a dramatic story, a short existential journey, and a perfect subject for a theatrical pièce. From theatre to cinema; also the “seventh art” wanted to pay homage to the artist with a documentary film entitled “Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat”. “The film”, explains Sara Driver the director, “celebrates Jean-Michel’s humanity, not his mythology.

Thirty years after his death, he is considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Not only was he an extraordinary artist, but he became overwhelmingly part of the art world that up to then was reserved to white people.” The film focuses on Basquiat’s adolescence, through a successful collage of images, music and words, it emphasizes the influence that the 1980’s in New York and the rich artistic panorama surrounding himhad on his training. 

Here the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUsy5RObL2U

Above: Jean-Michel Basquiat with Andy Warhol. Photo: Michael Halsband