By carmen3521
2 years ago

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The neglected genius

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"Jean-Michel was really taken that, in my room on Canal Street, I had a whole series of baseball cards that I'd painted the faces out of. He laughed so hard and then he took the white correction fluid I was using and started to write names on the cards." Jennifer saw that their artistic contributions together meant the cards became unusual and attractive - and might even sell.
"We weren't much more than kids and neither of us had money. So we Xeroxed these colourful cards and sold them on the street. We carried a big placard around and shouted postcards for sale - $1!
"We did that all day and some days we'd maybe make $5 and there was one day we made $20 - that was a big deal. Most people looked at us and the way we were acting and at these crazy, arty cards and just ignored us. But I think people with a sense of humour enjoyed the way Jean-Michel and I made the cards and I'm thrilled to see them on display in London."
Jean-Michel Basquiat: King ZuluImage copyrightESTATE OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
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Jean-Michel Basquiat wasn't even 20 when art dealers began to take notice of his brightly-coloured work
Stein says the cards have mostly been hidden away for years. "But I could see that Eleanor Nairne at the Barbican was going to curate the new show beautifully and she did a great job making me see the art world would love to have these examples of Jean-Michel's work before all the money and all the fame."
Basquiat wasn't even 20 when art dealers began to take notice of his brightly-coloured work, which rapidly developed from graffiti roots. Soon he had no need to walk the streets touting $1 postcards. Stein saw her friend's rapid ascent into the artistic stratosphere.
"I understand how it happened and I watched it happen - but it doesn't seem real. I think it didn't seem real for him either. I feel in many ways he should have been more nurtured by the people who gave him the success. It started in an overnight flash, an explosion. Jean-Michel's whole career was just a decade before his death at the age of 27."
Jean-Michel BasquiatImage copyrightESTATE OF JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
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Jean-Michel Basquiat's death from a heroin overdose made him the equivalent of a rock star in the art world
Stein says becoming a mother later gave an extra perspective on her friend's career and early death.
"I see now that that age isn't old enough to make sense of that amount of money and all the fame and attention. Maybe he would still be with us today if those people who facilitated his career had seen that though he was an artistic genius, inside he was really a very young person. They should have known that."
The painter's death of a heroin overdose came when he was 27 - a fact which tended to cement his image as the art world equivalent of a rock star. Stein says the comparison is a valid one. "In many ways he was a rock star. And the more I've looked since at the trajectory of his life, the more I realise that in the 1980s Jean-Michel was not looked after by the people who needed to look after him."
Stein looked on as Basquiat's career took off, apparently without limits. "But I don't think that part was the happiest for him. The happy time for Jean-Michel was from about the point I met him through maybe 1982 or '83. It was that era of making the postcards. It was pre-drugs, pre-money, pre-fame. Freewheeling and being a nut - that was what Jean-Michel loved."
Basquiat: Boom for Real is at the Barbican in London until 28 January 2018.

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2 years
DAIANAGABAR Very nice post
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AnceAne Beautiful article
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mila7272 nice post
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MegyBella Great
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soncee 🖒
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Violeta Very nice
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Shavkat c",)
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