Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Radiant Child: Jean-Michel Basquiat

I think I have hesitated learning more about Jean-Michel Basquiat. I have a bias towards Keith Haring. His art is at the heart of everything I do. I was competitive in my art love. I get defensive of Haring's work because both of them were in the same crowd. They did have a healthy competition and both looked to Warhol for much needed guidance. I realized after watching "The Radiant Child," that Jean-Michel was troubled in a different way than Keith had been. They were both unique, full of life and both taken from us too soon.

Jean-Michel had a keen eye for the complexity of our culture. His need for approval as a person of color and the love of his father seemed like a daily struggle for him. Also, the need to express his anger, resentment, and individuality seemed like an addiction (as it is for most artists). This documentary opened the world of Basquiat to me. I am grateful that I can now learn more about him and his quest to be famous, to articulate his struggles and his amazing skills. I don't know if I would have been able to key into this group of amazing artists in the early 80s in NYC. I imagine myself as one of their assistants and what it would have been like to observe this genius. For me, I usually look towards the past for inspiration. Basquiat had perfected seeking inspiration from his mind, pushing the mind to new limits in the present. What a gift to the world his art will continue to be for those who struggle with the challenges of life. His art makes me grateful that I have been able to realize a dream of sharing him with others. All artists live on in their work.