Monday, 25 January 2016

Jean-Michel Basquiat


Featuring foldouts, candid photographs, and full-page color installation shots, this beautiful new book celebrates the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat over his brief but meteoric career. Dozens of historical photographs, both black-and-white and color, connect the text with the close to sixty color plates, providing invaluable insight into the life and work of this seminal artist. Art historian Robert Farris Thompson delivers a detailed analysis of some of Basquiat’s most iconic paintings, situating them within the artist’s own oeuvre, as well as the larger landscape of twentieth-century art. Rounding out this stunning volume, the late Rene Ricard provides a rare but accurate glimpse into the private world of Basquiat, recounting their sometimes fraught friendship, from their first meeting in 1981 to Basquiat’s death in 1988.

Editorial Reviews


"With over 150 notebook pages and numerous drawings and paintings, this important book sheds new light on Basquiat's career and his critical place in contemporary art history."

In [the Brooklyn Museum's] sparkling if sometimes arcane exhibition, the contents of eight notebooks, supplemented by several paintings and large drawings, trace the evolution of Basquiat’s loquacious pictorial style. Time spent with the catalog enhances the experience."
- The New York Times

About the Author

Robert Farris Thompson is the Colonel John Trumbull Professor at Yale University’s History of Art Department. He specializes in African and African-American art and has published extensively on the topic. Rene Ricard was an artist, poet, and art critic credited with launching the career of Jean-Michel Basquiat in a 1981 issue of Artforum. He was a fixture of New York’s art world from his arrival there in 1965 to his death in 2014.


Fresh Perspectives By JOI C. on April 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover
This volume is the catalogue which was (finally) released several months ago for a major Basquiat exhibit at Gagosian Gallery back in 2013. I purchased this catalogue directly from the gallery, so I can't speak for Amazon service.... But as for the catalogue itself, it is an excellent representation of the exhibit in both layout and content. Most of the works displayed were during Basquiat's earlier career with some later works as well. This was by no means as complete a showing as, say, the 2005 blockbuster at Brooklyn Museum (to my personal disappointment, " Riding with death" was displayed but the "Eroica" paintings as well as my beloved "Pegasus" were noticeably absent.) Still, Gagosian is a great gallery space and it was a great showing overall. My personal interest in this catalogue was actually not for the artworks themselves as much as for the insightful commentary if Robert Farris Thompson regarding some if the included works. Basquiat stated on numerous occasions that he particularly enjoyed RFT's critiques and reviews of his work. He gave the impression that he felt RFT really "got it".....and after reading this volume, I agree. Of course, the essay pieces by Rene Ricard are wonderful....he himself was quite the character! I'm a HUGE Basquiat fan and I enjoy taking in the various perspectives of the work and the artist. This catalogue is rich in that respect.....very enjoyable. I would not agree, however, that this is THE BEST catalogue in print today. The Tony Shafrazi catalogue released in 1999 and currently still available through Shafrazi Gallery is the best currently in print IMHO (my prized catalogue) based on quantity and quality of plates and works represented. The BEST EVER would be the 1996 Navarra Catalogue Raisonne (dying to own this).

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