Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Jean-Michel Basquiat remembered - "The Radiant Child"

Last month, Nowness, aka eLuxury, (led by Jefferson Hack for LVHM) presented Tamra Davis' documentary film "Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Where did this film come from? Well, it seems that Davis was a good friend of Basquiat’s in the 80s and filmed him over a period of several years before he passed in 1988. It's said that Davis kept her footage a secret until the art dealer (and now Los Angeles MOCA director) Jeffrey Deitch encouraged her to complete her film.

The result is a mix of old footage and new interviews, graphics by Shepard Fairey's Studio Number One and original music by Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond of Beastie Boys fame.

It's not often you get Fab 5 Freddy Brathwaite, Kenny Scharf and Jeffrey Deitch sat in one room. But the MoMA "The Radiant Child" screening brought Basquiat's friends together to discuss Basquiat's rise and fall, his heroin addiction and subsequent death by overdose in a poignant end to this screening event. I wonder if anyone sat at the table thought they'd be discussing how this played out over 20 years later in the same city?

"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." Sundance Film Festival 2010.

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