The chaotic brilliance of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat – Jordana Moore Saggese


A sky blue canvas ripped open
by an enormous skull. Teeth bared through visceral slashes
of oil and spray-paint. In 2017, this untitled artwork was auctioned
off for over 110 million dollars. But it’s not the work of some old master. These strokes of genius belong to 21 year old
black Brooklynite Jean-Michel Basquiat – one of America’s most
charismatic painters, and currently, its highest sold. Born in 1960 to a Haitian father
and a Puerto Rican mother, Basquiat spent his childhood making art
and mischief in Boerum Hill. While he never attended art school, he learned by wandering
through New York galleries, and listening to the music
his father played at home. He drew inspiration from
unexpected places, scribbling his own versions of cartoons,
comic books and biblical scenes on scrap paper from his father’s office. But it was a medical encyclopedia
that arguably exerted the most powerful
influence on Basquiat. When young Jean-Michael was hit by a car, his mother brought a copy of
“Grey’s Anatomy” to his hospital bed. It ignited a lifelong fascination
with anatomy that manifested in the skulls,
sinew and guts of his later work – which frequently explores both the power
and vulnerability of marginalized bodies. By 17, he launched his first foray into
the art world with his friend Al Diaz. They spray painted cryptic statements
and symbols all over Lower Manhattan, signed with the mysterious moniker SAMO. These humorous, profound,
and rebellious declarations were strategically scattered
throughout Soho’s art scene. And after revealing himself as the artist, Basquiat leveraged SAMO’s success
to enter the scene himself; selling postcards, playing clubs with
his avant-garde band, and boldly seeking out his heroes. By 21, he’d turned to painting full time. His process was a sort of
calculated improvisation. Like Beat writers who composed their work by shredding
and reassembling scraps of writing, Basquiat used similar cut-up techniques
to remix his materials. When he couldn’t afford canvases, he fashioned them out of discarded
wood he found on the street. He used oil stick, crayons,
spray paint and pencil and pulled quotes from the menus,
comic books and textbooks he kept open on the studio floor. He kept these sources open
on his studio floor, often working on multiple
projects at once. Pulling in splintered anatomy,
reimagined historical scenes, and skulls transplanted from
classical still-lives, Basquiat repurposed both present day
experiences and art history into an inventive visual language. He worked as if inserting himself into
the legacy of artists he borrowed from, producing collages that were just as
much in conversation with art history as they were with each other. For instance,
“Toussaint L’Overture versus Savonarola” and “Undiscovered Genius of the
Mississippi Delta” offer two distinct visions of Basquiat’s
historical and contemporary concerns. But they echo each other in the details, such as the reappearing head that
also resurfaces in “PPCD.” All these pieces form a network
that offers physical evidence of Basquiat’s restless and prolific mind. These chaotic canvases won
rapid acclaim and attention. But despite his increasingly
mainstream audience, Basquiat insisted on depicting
challenging themes of identity and oppression. Marginalized figures take center stage,
such as prisoners, cooks and janitors. His obsession with bodies, history,
and representation can be found in works evoking the
Atlantic slave trade and African history, as well as pieces focusing on
contemporary race relations. In less than a decade, Basquiat made thousands of
paintings and drawings- along with sculpture, fragments
of poetry and music. His output accelerated alongside
his meteoric rise to fame, but his life and work were
cut tragically short when he died from a drug overdose
at the age of 27. After his death,
Basquiat’s work only increased in value- but the energy and flair of his pieces have impacted much more than their
financial worth. Today, his influence swirls around us in
music, poetry, fashion and film- and his art retains the power to
shock, inspire, and get under our skin.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. #izinshare #bantushare

    Di Kejar Banyak Zombie guanya… tolongin gua dong….

    gimana kelanjutannya nonton video ini jam 10:30 karena akan tayang secara premier.

    Bantu Comment,Share,Like,dan Subscribernya temen-temen.

    Di Kejar banyak Jombai: https://youtu.be/0cB2w0FQvCs

  2. It's cool you guys told his story via vibrant, abstract, energetic animation. Quite apropos. 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨

  3. Hello ted Ed team ,I am a 15 year old kid ,I love your work ,I love to draw and would love to see content on art and art tutorial as you guys make on science

  4. I love how the animation you use when talking about a certain artist or piece of art is similar to its style yet very distinct

  5. I told my partner I was watching a video about Basquiat and she got really excited. She's loves his work.

  6. I've seen quite a few BASQUIAT history video/film attempts. Mostly uninspired and misleading. This is a good one, well researched and very eloquently delivered.

  7. I don't want to be rude, I'm just curious because On 0:34 you said that Jean-Michel Basquiat's painting ,,Untitled'' (untitled) was the highest sold painting of an american artist (at least I understood it that that was what you said) so I'm wondering wasn't Jackson Pollock's painting ,,Number 17A'' sold for a higher price (211.000.000 USD) than Basquiat's piece (110.000.000 USD)? And there were some other paintings made by american painters that were sold for higher prices too. Also I'm actually not trying to be rude or anything like that I'm genuinely intrested if that was a mistake made by you or I just misunderstood what were you trying say.

  8. Can you make a video about what happens to your body when you get tetanus, polio, or leprosy. I really enjoy your videos and love learning about new things.

  9. To be honest i don't get it, it's not about the skill or anything like that, it's just that most of his work isn't very memorable, there are some exceptions here and there but it just doesn't move me at all. People are just enamored with what he signifies, he's more memorable than any of his works

  10. Basquiat!! Breathtaking, visceral, raw, beauty. One of his pieces is at the Broad here in LA and I remember just being mesmerized by it, my heart skipped a beat and eyes filled with tears to be standing infront of a piece he created . 💕🌱💕

  11. Modern Art has an emperor's new clothes feel to me. The best artists I know are in entertainment and advertising. The level of skill the average concept artists and animators need is usually higher than the most famous modern artists these days. Basquiat was a fascinating creative but he wasn't a talented artist. How is art one of the few artistic fields where base level skill isn't a requirement?

  12. I can't help but feel that when it comes to modern art it is not the art that is being sold, but the story behind the art that is being sold. It is kind of like how pepper merchants use to say that pepper was guarded by monsters to help their customers stomach the price or when you find yourself bargaining with a seller he will wax poetic about the effort, sentimentality, or rarity of the product in order to get you to part with more cash. A "story" was added to the product in order to increase the value.

    And look Basquiat's life. It seems to fit a lot of the tropes about a modern artist. Child of unprivileged. Check. Child of artists. Check. Life changing event. Check. Untrained genius. Check. Gritty street artist. Check. Championed something oppressed. Check. Died tragically at the high of his career. Check. Makes art that is a great conversation piece at party. Check.

    And when I dissect the story and it target market, I can't help but be a little depressed. This art that ultimately affirms the purchaser's superiority while giving them a pass to feel good about their superiority. In the story Basquiat's talent is the result of biology and having high brow interests. That speaks to many rich people of unearned wealth. But at the same time this reflection of themselves has an upbringing that denies him the privilege.

    It is kind of like how action movies are ultimately power fantasies given plot to justify violence without guilt. Basquiat's art is ultimately a salve for the guilt that goes with being ultra rich.

  13. Meanwhile I can’t make one red cent GRACIOUSLY sharing my fiction on my channel like a free audiobook 😒

  14. i found it a crime when i realized how much i could learn within 10 minutes. i 've just wasted about 4 hours today watching some silly gameplay walkthrough.

  15. I didn't know who he was until Taehyung talked about how he really liked his work, I like to discover knew things like this

  16. So he did have a modicum of classical knowledge in anatomy and art history. Nothing rarely can come from nothing. Effort and interest in multiple sources didn't diminish his creativity, rather increasing it.

  17. damn. i was really starting to feel something positive towards this guy before 3:55. i have no sympathy for crackheads.

  18. I had the opportunity, from an exposition of Basquiat here in Brazil. Incredible … Magnificent …

  19. True fame only comes from Death, as He and the Gods understands that fame only makes people lazy. As this simple artist, local famous, he were able to actually make a difference on this world. When he died, the energy was released.

  20. Jean Michel was a great artist but he was also a smack head and alot of his art containing random words written over and over are a snap shot of his mental health

  21. ya. I love his stuff when i was working at canal jeans as a display designer in SOHO in the late 80s.

  22. i always was so fascinated by the ny apartment in the movie Across The Universe and now I understand that it was inspired by basquiat

  23. This video is so well done! Bravo! He first meets Andy Warhol at 1:47 and he buys some of his postcard art. I highly recommend watching the documentary The Radiant Child if you're further interested in Basquiat.

  24. Every time I see a video about basquiat I just have too watch, great quick summary of his life, hope it inspires some viewers to go search him up.

  25. I just recently did a school assignment on him, he’s an inspiration and what sparked my now love for art.

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