a Quick Killing in Art
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|Format:||Paperback, 352 pages, Re-issue Edition|
|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 12 August 1998|
A NYT bestseller, this is the tragic story of the talented painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, detailing his turbulent childhood, explosive dealings with the elite art world, relationships with such figures as Andy Warhol and Madonna, and rise to fame, which led to his death from a drug overdose at the age of twenty-seven.
Hoban's background as a journalist shows in the fast-paced, reportorial style with which she presents the life and times of the 1980s art world "phenom," painter Jean-Michael Basquiat. Half-Haitian, half-Puerto Rican, Basquiat grew up in Brooklyn as the son of a middle-class accountant. At constant odds with a father friends described as "strict" and "self-absorbed," he became a drug-soaked denizen of the East Village, painting the city's walls with his graffiti tag, SAMO. How he turned his skills at wordplay and fragmented imagery into a career that captivated the international art scene before dying of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 becomes the focus of this accessible, frequently entertaining book. Those who peopled that scene, from gallery owner Mary Boone to Andy Warhol and Madonna, receive ample coverage here, as do the downtown New York clubs he frequented and the upscale European suites he trashed. Throughout, Hoban makes a strong case that racism marred the life of the dreadlocked artist in paint-spattered Armani suits. What's missing is any analysis of the degree to which Basquiat's enormous drug consumption (ca. 100 bags of heroin a day at the end) contributed to his imagery, especially the gap-toothed skulls he splayed across ragged expanses of bright colors. Basquiat died intestate, which ultimately meant that his father, Gerard, became executor. Although there are eight pages of photos (not seen by PW), Hoban could not get permission to reproduce works for her unauthorized biography and the lack is sorely felt. Editor: Paul Slovak. (Aug.) FYI: August 12 will be the 10th anniversary of Basquiat's death.
This first, unauthorized biography of the most monetarily successful black American artist‘a master painter and wordsmith‘is sorely needed. Jean-Michel Basquiat, initially known by the graffiti tag "SAMO," tragically lived a mere 27 years (1960-88). Son of a Haitian father and a mother of Puerto Rican extraction, he was recognized internationally as a young genius of the Eighties contemporary art scene. Hoban, a New York Times columnist, provides vivid material derived mostly from countless interviews conducted after the artist's death. Basquiat's mesmerizing charisma and sexuality accentuated a catastrophic lifestyle. Real creative talent overshadowed the fact that the enfant terrible was constantly high, fueled by massive quantities of drugs. Yet he remained able to produce dozens of masterpieces and hundreds of works with both strengths and weaknesses. A fine tale of a talented young man, this is also recommended for its commentary on the decade when art in New York was so wide-open a victim of commerce.‘Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., MD
|Publisher: ||Quartet Books|
|Dimensions: ||21.0 x 13.0 centimeters (0.49 kg)|