Bully for Basquiat – Toledo City Paper

On Monday, October 4, 1982, the father of Pop Art Andy Warhol wrote the following excerpt in his diary: “(He) brought Jean-Michel Basquiat with him. He’s the boy who used the name ‘Samo’ when he was sitting on the sidewalk in Greenwich Village painting T-shirts, and I would give him $ 10 here and there and send him to Serendipity to try the T. – shirts there. He was just one of those kids who drove me crazy. “

Almost 37 years later, this “kid” is considered an international art legend, and the late 1970s / early 1980s street art scene in downtown New York City that made him a superstar is known for famous artists such as Keith Haring , Nan Goldin. bring forth, and others.

Honoring American Art History

Contemporary art Toledo and Owens Community College honor this special era in American art history with the exhibition “Zeitgeist: The Teenage Basquiat Art Scene” which is complemented by Sara Driver’s 2018 documentary “Boom For Real: Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Late Teenage Years.” The result is a fascinating examination of street art and culture and a snapshot of a long-forgotten era of pre-gentrified New York City.

“This show – and Sara Driver’s film, which largely inspired her – is about regaining those early years when (Basquiat) was just a beautiful kid with great ideas, wild energy and an amazing group of really creative friends, all of them nourished and inspired one another. “Said Carlo McCormick, a senior curator who was also part of the downtown NYC scene that produced Basquiat’s work.

“Zeitgeist” mainly focuses on the pre-fame work of the young Basquiat when he and his street artist Al Diaz scribbled hilarious and provocative art under the collective name “Samo”. Basquiat’s somber, neo-expressionist artwork caught the attention of Andy Warhol and other New York flavor makers, and the rest, they say, is history. The once homeless creative dynamo soon began charging thousands upon thousands of dollars for his work in the mid-1980s, until he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. In 1996 an admirable biopic about his life was published in which David Bowie portrayed Warhol.

Basquiat’s influence

More than three decades after his death, Basquiat remains a deity of the art world, whose works fetch millions in auction houses around the world. Why does his work continue to hold and fascinate? McCormick has an idea.

“My immediate answer is that Basquiat has been so honest and direct as an artist that his work reaches people outside of the clever bullshit we indulge in in the art world,” said McCormick. “I still think the real appeal for many is that Basquiat has an uncanny way of speaking to us directly.”

McCormick will appear at the Zeitgeist exhibition reception on Saturday, February 9th, and will participate in a Q&A following a demonstration of the driver documentation.

“What I hope for from the exhibition is that even if people only come for the Basquiat, in the end they will have a broader picture of the world in which he lived and to which he reacted, of his friends, colleagues and competitors and how the sum of all these divergent and idiosyncratic tendencies will always be greater than the parts, ”said McCormick. “I am confident that art can speak for itself to convey the great beauty and hope, the sense of play and experimentation, and the anger and alienation that can bloom in the darkest of places in the most desperate of times. Maybe that’s something we can all identify with now more than ever. “

Zeitgeist: The Art Scene of Teenage Basquiat runs through March 22nd in the Terhune Gallery of the Owens Community College Center for Fine and Performing Arts (30335 Oregon Road, Perrysburg). On Saturday, February 9th, from 5pm to 7pm, there will be a public reception with a screening of “Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat” followed by a Q&A with curator Carlo McCormick.

Comments are closed.