Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child


basquiat-portraitToday we will finish watching the movie, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. We will discuss his legacy as a class, and then you will write your own response to his work and life. I have included links to additional resources, including an analysis of why Basquiat continues to influence hip hop.

Consider the following excerpt from “American Graffiti” by Mark Stevens, which was published to NY Art Magazine in 2005:

“Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of art’s shooting stars, a painter who developed a flashy early style and then flamed out, dying in 1988 of a drug overdose at the age of 27. That alone makes him irresistible to many: The story of the doomed artist who dies young is one of the great weepies of Western culture. (It doesn’t hurt that Basquiat was handsome, with a beautiful lost-child look.) But Basquiat also did something more interesting than play this romantic part. He captured the downtown pulse of his time, for good and ill, and defined some key cultural crossovers. The son of Haitian and Puerto Rican parents, he embodied the emerging doctrine of multicultural- ism and jumbled up various traditions with devil-may-care energy.
 If he relished the mean streets and painted raw-looking images, he also came from a middle-class family and cultivated fame, charming Andy Warhol and his glitzy circle. He was at once self-taught and sophisticated, glamorous and ghetto-rough, the outlaw who’s the toast of society. So many people today want to play that gig.”

Here are several articles that further explain Basquiat’s legacy:

Fallen Angel Jean Michel BasquiatFallen Angel
Jean Michel Basquiat

Baptism Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Untitled (Skull) Jean-Michel Basquiat

Untitled (Skull)
Jean-Michel Basquiat



In this case Jean-Michel Basquiat

In this case
Jean-Michel Basquiat

Today we will:

  • Finish watching the movie, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child.
  • Explore the resources posted on this blog to learn more about Jean-Michel Basquiat.
  • Post a 150 word response to our blogs, touching on each of the following points:
    • Groundbreaking art generally makes people uncomfortable because it is so different from anything they have seen before. How does this apply to Basquiat’s work?
    • How do you think the Basquiat’s interpersonal relationships influenced the trajectory of his career and life?
    • How did Basquiat help bridge different worlds (ie. street art and fine art, visual art and music/poetry)?
    • When students find out that Basquiat died at 27, they frequently ask whether he committed suicide. How would you answer this question?

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