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Basquiat Paperback – Import, January 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Taschen Art Album
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 382281637X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822816370
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,149,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Forbes on March 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
The myth of Jean Michel Basquiat has taken on the status of an "art cautionary tale". Born to a middle class family in Brooklyn's Park Slope, Basquiat first made a name for himself as a graffiti artist and punk musician in ate 70s Soho before reinventing himself as a painter. His work rode the painting boom of the early 80s where, along with Julian Schnabel and Europeans George Baselitz and Francesco Clemente he was associated with the Neo-Expressionist movement in art. Basquiat's studied primitive canvases, which mixed text, symbol, primitive figuration and abstract techniques became the rage in the burgeoning "art market" of the 80s, looked upon as much for "investment" purposes as for the intrinsic value of the work. Basquiat's meteoric rise to fame and romantic origins as a street artist sold his paintings as much as the actual work on canvas. And then when he fell, he fell hard. He was dropped by the very people who had made his career only a few years earlier and died of a drug overdose in 1987, at the age of 27.

I bought this book after attending the fantastic Basquiat retrospective exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. I had not been a fan of the artist before seeing this show. Somehow, wandering through the almost 200 pieces brought a cumulative power to the work that I had never noticed when viewed singly. Basquiat's arcane use of phrases, text and esoteric symbols fascinated me and I wanted to know more. This book was just the ticket.

The book is a fast read. The highlights of Basquiat's career are present; his time on the streets, his early struggles as an artist, his lionization by Rene Ricard and Diego Cortez, his contentious relationships with his agents and promoters, the strange relationship with Warhol, and his final dissolution.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By LVM on February 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Great writing, Pocket Size edition, but very informative. Breaks Jean Michele down and makes him real. Does more than "gawk at and patronize" the so-called "negro savant" of the early 80's art world.
As a fan of "the artist" and the prolific amount of "work" he was able to create in his brief time on Planet Earth, this was a much needed testament to his legacy.
Unlike "Basquait"(IMO) the all-too self-serving Schnabel film,
Jean Michelle is not "presented as the drug-riddled token-ghetto golden child." His complex relationship with his family, ethnicity, and the 80's art world who both exploited and extolled him are examined.
Jean Michele artistic influences are detailed, his original perspective and cleverness is allowed to shine, and the author has obviously spent time and research and it is much appreciated.
Originally, I was under the impression that Basquait was somewhat of a fraud (many years ago) and it's only been in the last 5-7 years that I am beginning to truly appreciate his legacy and genius.
Emmerling plants Basquait firmly in the tradition of African, Latino, and American artists, where he firmly belongs.
"Liberals" beware, This is not the book to purchase, if you're looking for the "overly hyped" sordid details of his life. He may not have been a Saint, but who is???? Time will tell if he's deserving of the "Black Picasso" moniker.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tam Mossman on December 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any book this thorough and well designed makes it easier to review the artist himself . . . as well as the misguided approach of other monographs like this one.

Like Keith Haring, another graffiti artist, Basquiat had a canny sense of design, and a far better sense of color. His work is immediately recognizable; it sells for millions. By OD'ing on heroin, Basquiat immortalized himself Like Lautrec and Van Gogh, as a "bad boy" outsider whose too-short life took a tragic trajectory.

When his works become so expensive, his life so tabloid-worthy, very few critics dare suggest his output is like any other artist's--uneven! Not that Superman wears no clothes at all, but too often he throws on a familiar flashy cape he's worn before and expects his viewers to imagine the rest of his outfit. Robert Hughes made the memorable observation that Milton Avery's slapdash anatomy "punched holes" in his compositions. With such "critical" criticism all too rare, this book might have made a truly useful contribution by daring to explain where, how, and why Basquiat's work fails.

Like Picasso, Basquiat fell victim to media hype. Knowing that trendy collectors would pay for anything he dashed off, he became a sorry example of Gresham's law, with his mediocre works elbowing aside his better ones. (His VERY early drawings, not illustrated here, are breathtakingly deft and finished.) Like Picasso, he left much to dislike: hermetic scrawlings and thumb-your-nose messiness that this book would have us applaud as uniformly brilliant. How did heroin alter or impair his work? Which are his best paintings, and which are too off-hand to bother with? The book ignores such questions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First I would like to share that this book was received by me in less time than I ever received from any shipper from any of Amazon shipper. Upon receiving this book I was thrill , because all that I wanted to learn about Basquit life,work was reveal . Mr, Basquiat was truly a great painter,and I really do enjoy this book which I put on my coffee table so my friends may learn about this great man work.
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