This is a great book with many of Basquiat's paintings and drawings. It also has various essays by art critics and people who knew him. I suppose the reviewers who slammed Basquiat also think anybody could knock over a couple of paint buckets and be Jackson Pollock. The genius of Basquit in my mind is his ability to create truly beautiful paintings while painting in a seemingly uncontrolled, primitive (I hate that word) fashion. The way he layered colors, and added details is incredible. My favorite is "Untitled (Skull)" 1981. Here is a brilliant example of how Basquiat combines dissarray, ugliness, harmony, and beauty all into the same striking painting. I know Basquiat idolized Hendrix and ultimately went out much like he did, unable to cope with his talent and the attention it brought. To me Basquiat's painting very much mirrors Hendrix's musical talents. They both created wild, noisy, seemingly unharnessed, unpolished art. But to the careful, sensitive observer the true beauty and magic is revealed.
I am not convinced that this is the BEST Jean Michel Basquiat retrospective catalogue to date...but the work selected for this publication is certainly consistently better than most others published before or after this one. Basquiats peak of productivity was from1981-83 and much of that work is catalogued here..But the dissapointment is that many of his last works (circa 1988) will not be found here....but in the more extensive Basquiat catalogue published by the Tony Shafrazi Gallery. There are also a few images here that will make you wonder why they were selected and some of the text seems to over emphesize the fact that Basquiat died of a DRUG OVERDOSE. You can skip the text or consider it ....it's the work that counts in the end!
After discovering Basquiat a year ago through a black art history survery class I took, I was simply blown away by his work. As a result, I did a graduate paper on him. Anyone who has any knowledge of black art with respect to racism and the use of symblols in art which relate to one's culture, oppression, genocide, etc. could surely see the important messages floating throughout Basquiat's work. If everyone painted like the "master's"--oh what a boring world and perception of life that would be. If you love Basquiat like I do, read the biography by Hoban, watch the film "Basquiat" starring Jeffrey Wright as Jean Michel--who looks sooo much like him, and listen to the sound track afterwards. Very moving stuff!
Basquiat had so much to express and we can see so many contemporary art movements in his energetic work: Minimalism, Conceptualism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, street art, African art. He was a vital artist of the New York whirlwind Art scene of the 1970's and 80's and I think he and his work deserve more attention and understanding. Books like this one with full-page color plates of his work, and the interspersed essays go a long way to correct that.
THE best book on Basquiat out there! A very talented New York artist that started out doing graffiti on the New York Subways as SAMO and instantly became famous after one day meeting Andy Warhol and giving him a postcard of his artwork. They became quick friends and Warhol had a great influence on his very short career even though Jean-Michel's work is totally different. Jean Michel died tragically from a drug overdose. Cool little known fact - He dated Madonna! Great photos of the Jean-Michel and an incredible extended chronology in the back of the book. Best yet info on the artist existing anywhere in the the book. Color plates of his art work are superb, large, and mostly one per page, incredible color. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Jean-Michel or his friends Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, or Andy Warhol.
Definitely one of the definitive books for having a general good look inside Basquat's Art and humanity...
The price is very low for having such a big Art catalogue like this!, I was quite surprised by the size, the resolution of colours, and the written inserts, for such a cheap price, I truly reccomend this item even to the ones who already have an Art Catalogue of this great and young maudit...