Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

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Released 2009

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Movie Summary

Director:
Tamra Davis
Released:
2009
Rating:
Not Available
In his short career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a phenomenon. He became notorious for his graffiti art under the moniker Samo in the late 1970s on the Lower East Side scene, sold his first painting to Deborah Harry for $200 and became best friends with Andy Warhol. Appreciated by both the art cognoscenti and the public, Basquiat was launched into international stardom. However, soon his cult status began to override the art that had made him famous in the first place. Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary, but also delves into Basquiat as an iconoclast. His dense, bebop-influenced neoexpressionist work emerged while minimalist, conceptual art was the fad; as a successful black artist, he was constantly confronted by racism and misconceptions. Much can be gleaned from insider interviews and archival footage, but it is Basquiat's own words and work that powerfully convey the mystique and allure of both the artist and the man. Featuring interviews with Julian Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi, Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Glenn O'Brien, Maripol, Kai Eric, Nicholas Taylor, Fred Hoffmann, Michael Holman, Diego Cortez, Annina Nosei, Suzanne Mallouk, and Rene Ricard, among many others.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    A remarkably rich documentary possessing depth, range, insight and compassion.

  • 80

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    It places Basquiat's art in a cultural context with an enthusiasm and zest that make the many pictures shown come blazingly alive.

  • 50

    San Francisco Chronicle

    People who have seen fellow painter Julian Schnabel's "Basquiat" - with its star-making portrayal by Jeffrey Wright - may reasonably trust its truth as a tribute over Davis' ostens...

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    Categories

    Arts, Documentary

    Themes

    Biography, Culture, Painting